LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Public Library, Photograph Collections

Photograph Collections, Los Angeles Public Library
Central Library, 630 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Contact: Ms. Christina Rice, Senior Librarian, Photo Collection
Phone: 213-228-7274
Fax: 213-228-7419

Institution Type: Archive, Library, Municipal-City

Web site:
Facebook Page:
Twitter: @laplphotos

Archives and Collections

The Los Angeles Public Library’s Photograph Collections comprise a number of major collections including:

The Security Pacific National Bank Collection, donated to LAPL in 1981, consisting of over 150,000 photographs documenting the growth of Los Angeles and its many neighborhoods. The SPNB Collection also contains images from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce depicting business, industry, sports and agriculture in Los Angeles during its greatest growth spurt, 1920-1939.

The Shades of L.A. archive contains images representing the full range of contemporary and historic ethnic and cultural diversity in the greater Los Angeles region. Copied from family albums in a project sponsored by Photo Friends, the photographs show daily life, work, social organizations, personal and holiday celebrations, and migration and immigration activities. Also archived are approximately twelve oral histories that were collected during the project and available through the LAPL website.

The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Photograph Collection consists of the newspaper’s morgue of 2.2 million photographs doumenting Southern California, the nation, and the world in the years from the 1920s to 1989. The Valley Times newspaper morgue spans from 1946-1972 and focuses on the post-war growth of the San Fernando Valley.

The LAPL Photo Collection also has smaller collections of specific photographers including Ansel Adams, Herman Schultheis, Howard Kelly, Gary Leonard, Carol Westwood, C.C. Pierce, William Reagh, and Ralph Morris.

Regions Covered: Southern California

Type of Materials: Audio Recordings, Photographs

Time Periods: 1848-1899, 1900-1920, 1921-1949, 1950-1963, 1964-1980, 1981-Present

Languages: English


Catalog System: Carl Corporation’s Everybody’s Catalog (in-house) and CarlWeb (internet access) databases using MARC format records linked to .jpg digital images.
Online Catalog:
Digital Formats: Over 108,000 images available through the LAPL website, with an average if 500 added each month.
Repository/Depository: Yes
Exhibited: Yes
Exhibition Frequency: 1-2 per yr
Outreach: Brochures/Flyers/Pamphlets, Exhibitions, Internet, Library Events, Newsletter, Public Lectures & Programs, Radio/TV/Video, Word of Mouth