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Collected photographs and postcards of Los Angeles, California and vicinity, circa 1857-1940

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Guide to the J. Paul Getty Collected Photographs and Postcards of Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1857-1940

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection primarily comprises black-and-white photographs of early California (1857-1940s). J. Paul Getty collected these images; they reflect his interest in Los Angeles and the coastal region of Santa Monica,Malibu, and the Pacific Palisades, where he spent much of his life. The bulk of the images trace the development of Los Angeles from a small pueblo to a bustling city and show the Santa Monica area coastline, canyons, and mountains prior to their development. The collection also contains several photographs of waterfront communities and resorts to the north and south of Los Angeles, a few shots of California missions, and one of the Redwoods. It also includes a small set of non-photographic postcards of California (1885). Among this collection are also a few photographs of New York City, a photograph of an unidentified weightlifting competition, and a color photogravure of Château de Pierrefonds (France).

Many of the photographs in this collection were originally collected by Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946), a notable photographer of early California, who sold photographs out of his store on Spring Street in Los Angeles. Although many of these images are stamped on the verso with the name C. C. Pierce, they were not necessarily created by Pierce. Pierce assembled an impressive library of historic California photographs (and negatives), removed the original photographers' signatures from the works, and stamped his own name on the images. Several other photographs in this collection are attributed to Adelbert Bartlett (1887-1966), a photographer based in Santa Monica, who was known locally and abroad for his images of Southern California.


This collection is arranged in two series:
Series I. Photographic prints;
Series II. Postcards.

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