Tuesday, January 5, 2016

On Books about the Popular History of L.A.

History:  a relation of incidents (according to the Oxford English Dictionary)

This lengthy blog posting looks at early works on Los Angeles history.  Not at all complete nor comprehensive, coverage is the L.A. metropolitan area, beginning with an 1878 guidebook and to trail off in the early 2000s, concluding with commentary on the current profusion of popular history books.

Commonly mentioned in books, articles and essays about L.A. history are the urban studies from Reyner Banham’s Los Angeles:  the Architecture of Four Ecologies (New York: Harper & Row, [1971]); Mike Davis’ City of Quartz:  Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (London and New York: Verso, 1990); and Carey McWilliams’ Southern California Country: An Island on the Land (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946).  Also influential have been California State Librarian Emeritus Kevin Starr’s sweeping 7-volume series Americans and the California Dream, published between 1973 and 2009, that includes the personalities and events from southern California.

Banham, Davis, McWilliams and Starr aside, this blog post will profile lesser known – but no less earnest - history-minded individuals.  Many of the books and writers below fit into the Popular genre, accessible by the general reader - differing from the specialized, academic, scholarly, analytical and less accessible works of professional historians.  However, some of the popular works below are also primary sources used by historians as portals to the past.

A Guide to Los Angeles in 1876

One of the earliest works that described an expansive part of today's metropolitan Los Angeles is Ludwig Louis Salvator's Los Angeles in the Sunny Seventies:  a Flower from the Golden Land (originally published as Blume aus dem goldenen Lande in Prague: Druck und Verlag von Heinr, Mercy, 1878)  It was translated in 1929 and published in Los Angeles.  It can be found full-text at the Library of Congress' American Memories webpage https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cbhtml/calbkbibTitles02.html.
Courtesy of the Seaver Center for Western History Research

A bibliographic record summarizes "Ludwig Salvator (1847-1915), Archduke of Austria, was the son of the Duke of Tuscany. Raised in Florence and Rome, Archduke Ludwig had already published several German-language travel books when he visited Los Angeles in the winter of 1876, not long after the city was linked directly by rail to the East. Los Angeles in the sunny seventies (1929) is an English translation of the archduke's account of that visit, published in German in 1878. It is organized to guide prospective emigrants considering the region as a place of settlement. Topics include climate, demographic patterns, agriculture, cattle-raising, industry, rail and steamship routes and postal service, and housing, as well as a brief history of the region and the problems of Chinese and Native American residents. The book closes with statistic-laden descriptions of visits to the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Monica, and Wilmington."

In the summer of 1928 the Historical Society of Southern California hosted a reading of translated portions of Salvator's guidebook.

Courtesy of the Seaver Center


Title page of the fully translated 1929 edition
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)


The Historical Society of Southern California

Early compilers of the city historical record were the members of the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC) formed in 1883. An active member in the Society was James Miller Guinn (1834-1918), who as an educator served as principal of the Anaheim schools and later superintendent of the Los Angeles city schools.  Guinn was the first editor of the HSSC’s journal, and he contributed many of the articles.  He also served as HSSC president, and he edited at least three publications containing historical narratives of Los Angeles and its residents (mug books, see below) and at least two publications on California of a similar format as the city books.  Each tome is no less than 3 inches thick, almost qualifies as an oversized folio, and he produced these between 1901 and 1915.  One of the works, the 1915 History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles and Environs is available on Google Books.


James Miller Guinn
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)


Mug Books

Published in great volume throughout the country in the late 19th into the 20th centuries were mug books - paid-for biographical sketches of leading men and women, profiling their personal, business, industrial, charitable and educational accomplishments.  Today, these are valuable research resources albeit their stories may need to be sifted for details that may have been doctored or exaggerated.


Just a handful of the many volumes of mug books
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

A Pastoral, Romantic Spanish California

John Steven McGroarty (1862-1944) arrived in the Southland in 1901 and since then actively had a hand in encouraging the regional myth of a pastoral Spanish historic past.  The above-pictured volumes Los Angeles From the Mountains to the Sea were compiled by McGroarty (Chicago and New York:  The American Historical Society, 1921).  His other multivolume compilation "mug books" were published in 1923 and 1933.

The public perception of the Southland was entrenched in the much earlier work of Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel, Ramona.  Her story was set in the region and captivated the public imagination.  The well-received book grew in popularity despite Jackson having died just one year after its release.  Jackson's intended purpose was to call to attention the ill-treatment of the native Indians in the form of a story but readers responded to the romance aspects.

A Bibliography of a Metropolis

Educator and historian Doyce B. Nunis, Jr. (1924-2011) was the long-time editor of HSSC's journal, the Southern California Quarterly, for 43 years until 2005.  Nunis edited the 1973 Los Angeles and Its Environs in the Twentieth Century:  a Bibliography of a Metropolis (Los Angeles: Ward Ritchie Press, 1973).  This bibliography covered the years 1900 through 1970, although Reyner Banham’s 1971 work found its way in.

501 pages and organized by subject
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)
The early works of HSSC reflected the lives and accomplishments of these pioneers who came from someplace else.  But Nunis’ project, covering a majority of the years of since HSSC formed in 1883, discloses the dearth of published works that could have defined the experiences of ethnic groups even though the bibliography has a rich list under the subject of "Minorities" --  doctoral theses, monographs produced by academic research groups, and articles from refereed scholarly journals.  With the exception of published works about the internment of  Japanese Americans during World War II and the 1965 Watts Riots (including Paul Bullock’s 1969 Watts: the Aftermath; an Inside View of the Ghetto People of Watts; Anthony L. Lehman’s 1970 Birthright of Barbed Wire: the Santa Anita Assembly Center for the Japanese; and Carey McWilliams’ 1944 Prejudice: Japanese-Americans: Symbol of Racial Intolerance) I found only five popular works for which could have provided affirmation to ethnic groups of the Southland for the first time in the history of American published works.

Those five popular works listed in the Bibliography under "Minorities" were:
  • Hosokawa, Bill.  Nisei, the Quiet Americans.  New York:  William Morrow, 1969.  (Japanese-American history including Los Angeles)
  • La Patria di Los Angeles.  Los Angeles, 1915 (Italian-Americans)
  • Lui, Garding.  Inside Los Angeles Chinatown.  [Los Angeles], 1948
  • Powell, William J.  Black Wings.  Los Angeles:  I. Deach, jr., 1934 (fictionalized autobiography of Black aviators)
  • Vaz, August.  The Portuguese in California.  Oakland, I.D.E.S. Supreme Council, 1965 (Portuguese including Los Angeles area)
Courtesy of the Seaver Center
Garding Lui originated from China, and he studied law at the Chicago University and herbal medicine at a Chinese school.  He had a byline in a 1936 article in the Los Angeles Times, "Herbs for the Ills of China" and published his first book on Chinese medicine in 1943.  He appeared to have been assimilated, living away from Chinatown.  In the 1940 census he was listed as a single man whose neighbors appeared to be non-Chinese.  Inside Los Angeles Chinatown was an attempt to clean up the image of the Chinese race, explain customs, and social mores among the Chinese, Whites and other Asian groups.  He pointed out Chinese American contributions to American society, such as participation in the recent World War.  He wrote with a strong bias, particularly in his anti-Japanese stance.  The above-pictured copy was originally sold in the J.W. Robinsons department store.

A seminal non-fiction book on Chinese Americans would take another half a century, with On Gold Mountain: the One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995).  While this book takes a broader view of the Chinese American experience, it is a true L.A. story.



Probably the first (ever*) photo history book of the city's Japanese American community was released in 1983 - two years ahead of schedule if one considers the founding date of Little Tokyo as 1885.  Little Tokyo:  One Hundred Years in Pictures (by Ichiro Mike Murase, Los Angeles: Visual Communications/Asian American Studies Central, Inc., 1983) was a community effort including local businesspeople along Visual Communications/Asian American Studies Central, Inc.  The cache of photo images in the book was drawn from over 65,800 images (Visual Communications' own photograph archives, the Toyo Miyatake collection, Japanese American newspaper photo collections, and private family photographs culled in the spirit of a later Shades of L.A. to be discussed later in the post.)  *History Curator William Mason along with John A. McKinstry published a monograph "The Japanese of Los Angeles" in Contributions in History No. 1 [Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, 1969] that included photographs, but again this was not a widely accessible publication.



More Books on Ethnic Groups
This paper guidebook Le Guide Francais De Los Angeles Et Du Sud De La Californie (English Edition) (Los Angeles: The Franco American Publishing Company, 1932) edited by Fernand Loyer and Charles Beaudreau, "in commemoration of a century of participation by people of French origin in the development of Southern California."  It was designed in time for visitors to the 1932 Olympics in L.A.  The guide is filled with historical data on French pioneers.  Jean Luis Vignes is mentioned, that he settled in L.A. by way of the Tahitian Islands.

Courtesy of the Seaver Center

History of the Jews of Los Angeles by Max Vorspan and Lloyd P. Gartner (San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1970):
Courtesy of the Seaver Center

Below is a thin, 40-page volume published in 1989 by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, a public non-profit corporation chartered by Congress in 1978.  The preface begins by stating "Vernon-Central is a neighborhood within the broader South Central community of the city of Los Angeles.  Vernon-Central has a long, interesting, and rich history, but, heretofore, historians have shown very little interest in the separate identity of this neighborhood."  [This paragraph was added here on 1/13/2017]
 
Courtesy of the Seaver Center
 
LAPD's Black History ([S.I.]: Broome, 1976) by Homer F. Broome (1931-2007).  A very rare bound publication; perhaps self-published; almost looks like a masters' thesis.  The Web contains quite a bit of information on Mr. Broome:

Courtesy of the Seaver Center
Antonio R√≠os-Bustamante and Pedro Castillo's An Illustrated History of Mexican Los Angeles, 1781-1985 (Los Angeles: Chicano Studies Research Center Publications, University of Califronia, 1986).  Although this was the work of a research center at UCLA, it is chock full of social history, photographs, and a foreword by then L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley:



More Pictorial Books

Title Insurance and Trust Company acquired an immense photograph collection of C.C. Pierce.  Panorama: A Picture History of Southern California (by W.W. Robinson, Los Angeles: Title Insurance and Trust Company, 1953) is an example of a publication that used many of those images of Los Angeles dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.  The Title Insurance photo collection is today a part of the California Historical Society.  On the Web, many of the photographs can be found at the USC Digital Library.



Los Angeles, a View from Crown Hill by Virginia Linden Comer ([Los Angeles]: Talbot Press, 1986) is a general historical overview and pictorial of Los Angeles from the time of the Native Americans through the year 1986.  She followed up in 1988 with a neighborhood study, In Victorian Los Angeles, the Witmers of Crown Hill.  Edward Doheny's famous oil strike came from some property sold to him by the Witmers.


Orange County: Views of the Past & Present
(San Diego, Calif.: George Ross Jezek Photography & Publishing, 2003)

Newspapermen’s Take on Los Angeles

James H. Richardson originally wrote the fictional Spring Street (Los Angeles: Times Mirror Press, 1922) for newspaper readers, and his employer, the Los Angeles Evening Herald, published it in serial form.  This story can be found online at the Internet Archive because it was digitized through Project Gutenberg.

Courtesy of the Seaver Center

Newspaper columnist of "The Lancer" Harry C. Carr (1877-1936) wrote Los Angeles: City of Dreams (New York and London:  D. Appleton-Century Company, 1935).  The book was one among a string of publications devoted to cities and places (including Boston, Chicago, Manhattan, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington) each illustrated by E.H. Suydam.

Courtesy of the Seaver Center
Joseph Seewerker wrote Nuestro Pueblo:  Los Angeles, City of Romance (Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1940), in collaboration with well-known newspaper illustrator Charles H. Owens.  For more explanation see Curating Los Angeles.

Title page
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Another local newspaperman, editor and columnist, Matt Weinstock (1903-1970) wrote a column up until the year before his death.  He wrote My L.A. (New York:  Current Books, Inc., 1947) in an anecdotal fashion like Harry Carr and Joseph Seewerker.

Title page
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)
Lee Shippey (1884-1969) whose body of work included the newspaper column "The Lee Side O' L.A." wrote many books about the Southland, with his last book being The Los Angeles Book (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950) accompanied by the photographs of Max Yavno.

Title pages
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Jack Smith's L.A. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980), was a compilation of columns by the syndicated journalist Jack Smith (1916-1996) and Mount Washington resident.  It was one of several books by Smith.


Cecilia Rasmussen wrote a regular, popular column for the L.A. Times from 1992 to 2008 called "L.A. Then and Now" covering historic events, places and personalities.  She published many of her stories in two books:

(Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times, 1996)
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

(Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times, 1998)
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)


Loss of Bunker Hill and other Landmarks & Communities

Los Angeles residents often waged objections against the demolition of landmarks.  Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers was  one example from the 1950s.  The 1926 Los Angeles Central Library was considered for a tear down after it had been constructed only 50 years earlier, and this led to the grassroots formation of the Los Angeles Conservancy in 1978.  The creation of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones began in 1983 and has since spawned the appreciation of neighborhoods and architecture.

Amateur and professional photographers and artists documented the pending loss of their surroundings:

"The Exiles", a 1961 film by USC film student Kent Mackenzie, was restored and released in 2009 on DVD.  The filmmaker captured rare footage of the Bunker Hill neighborhood and presented "a realistic portrayal of Indian life in the community" according to the DVD cover.



Pat Adler's The Bunker Hill Story (Glendale: La Siesta Press, 1963):

Courtesy of the Seaver Center
Leo Politi’s Bunker Hill, Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days (Palm Desert, Calif.:  Southwest Inc., 1964):

Title pages
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)
William Pugsley and Roy W. Hankey's Bunker Hill:  the Last of the Lofty Mansions (Corona Del Mar, Calif.: Trans-Anglo Books, 1977):
Courtesy of the Seaver Center
Virginia L. Comer's Angel's Flight:  a History of Bunker Hill's Incline Railway (Los Angeles:  Historical Society of Southern California, 1996):

Courtesy of the Seaver Center

Arnold Hylen’s Vanishing Face of Los Angeles (Los Angeles:  Dawson’s Book Shop, 1968)

Arnold Hylen’s Bunker Hill, a Los Angeles Landmark (Los Angeles:  Dawson’s Book Shop, 1976)

Arnold Hylen’s Los Angeles Before the Freeways, 1850-1950: Images of An Era (Los Angeles:  Dawson’s Book Shop, 1981).  Unfortunately, I don't have images to show of any of the Hylen books.

Helen Luitjens' The Elegant Era: a Sketchbook of the Ornate Architecture and Delicate Detail of Yesterday's Southland (Palm Desert, Calif.: Best-West Publications, 1968).  The artist sketched  Bunker Hill but also explored beyond to many pockets of L.A. County where Victorian-era architecture stood, including Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Pasadena, and many parts of the city of Los Angeles.





Other Titles With a Neighborhood Focus

Jim Kepner's account of homeowner James Vernon Schneider who fought many legal battles to prevent his house from demolition, The House That Found a Home (Bell, Calif.: Rancho Southeast Press, 1971):
65-page booklet
28-page booklet published by the West Adams Heritage Association in 1987


20-page booklet reprinted from the Angeles Mesa News-Advertiser, 1957

Ghosts of Echo Park by Ron Emler
(Los Angeles: Echo Park Publishing, 1999)

Leo Politi's Tales of the Los Angeles Parks (Palm Desert, Calif.: Best-West Publications, 1966):

Title Page
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Architecture in L.A.

Today Paul R. Williams' name and his past work as an architect is well-known.  This is due in large part to his granddaughter, Karen E. Hudson, who researched his life and produced Paul R. Williams, Architect, a Legacy of Style (New York: Rizzoli, 1993).  She embarked on researching Williams in 1980 upon his death and was in many instances challenged by the lack of information on the pioneering African American architect and Angeleno.  Following her 13-year odyssey, Hudson also published a juvenile book, The Will and the Way: Paul R. Williams Architect, in 1994; in 2012 she authored another Rizzoli publication showcasing her grandfather's residential designs.



Cal State Northridge Professor of History Merry Ovnick's Los Angeles: The End of the Rainbow (Los Angeles: Balcony Press, 1994) covered the myriad of Southland architectural styles, a scholarly work with popular appeal.


Municipal Anniversary Books

The City of Los Angeles was ready for another close-up as a coffee table-style book created for its 200th birthday in the year 1981.  Los Angeles 200: a Bicentennial Celebration (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1980) is filled with pages of original, contemporary photographs set alongside brief historical synopses for each year beginning with 1781.  The paragraph for the year 1965 covered the newly opened Los Angeles County Museum of Art and omitted mention of the Watts riot.
Maturing communities wanted to account for their local histories too.  A cluster of cities incorporated in the mid-20th century beginning with Lakewood (1954); followed by Downey and Cerritos (1956); Bellflower, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and Paramount (1957); City of Commerce, Cudahy, and La Mirada (1960); Bell Gardens (1961); and Hawaiian Gardens (1964).  Some of the local governments decided to produce their own anniversary books:

Though not an official commemorative book, the release of D.J. Waldie's Holy Land: a Suburban Memoir (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, W.W. Norton, 1996) exponentially punctuated the literature on Los Angeles at the 42nd year of cityhood for Lakewood.  Waldie, at the time Lakewood's Public Information Officer, continued to live in his boyhood home.

Bellflower:  People & Places, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition 1957-1987 (Bellflower: CA Heritage Society, 1987):



City of Commerce: an Enterprising Heritage by Charles Elliott (Los Angeles: Hacienda Gateway Press, 1991) was published for the City of Commerce's 30th anniversary.  Importantly, the volume contained the first historical account about the most successful brick company in southern California.  Simons Brick Company operated successfully in parallel to the growth and development of the region.  City of Commerce claimed Simons’ history because Simons plant number three operated on parcels of land which later fell within the city boundaries of Montebello as well as Commerce.  Simons relied on a heavily Mexican labor force, and the book detailed the company town structure.  Relatedly, two years prior to the publication of this anniversary book, Alejandro Morales wrote The Brick People (Houston, Tex.: Arte Publico Press, 1988), a fictionalized account in the magic realism genre.

As displayed on the book cover, source of Commerce pride was the original Samson Tyre factory,
or today's Citadel factory outlet shopping mall

Although Anaheim has not been a part of Los Angeles County since 1889, its citrus past and theme-park present and its close proximity to Los Angeles warrants inclusion in this post of Dreams to Reality: a Profile of Modern Day Anaheim by Geoff Black and Bret Colson (Houston, Tex.: Pioneer Publications, Inc., 1993):


Another novel, set in the 19th century, features the German colony, Anaheim and the true story of the great Polish stage actress Helena Modjeska.  It was the work of Susan Sontag’s In America (New York:  Farrar, Straus Giroux, 1999).  Relatedly, another Pole, theologian Stephen K. Szymanowski, wrote a novel set in the pre-motorized automobile era of Los Angeles, The Searchers (Los Angeles: Southern California Printing Co., 1908).




Shades of L.A.

Librarians at the downtown library (Los Angeles Public Library or LAPL) enlisted the community to delve into their private family photograph archives and donate copies.  The 1991 Shades of L.A. project grew out of an awareness that there existed a large void in the visual record of the lives of ordinary citizens in a diversely inhabited region.  Produced in 1996 was a book by the same project name Shades of L.A. (New York:  The New Press).  In 1997 the California State Library followed the city library model and produced the book Shades of California.

Today, rich digital photograph archives such as LAPL populate the Internet, and enable popular access by amateur or citizen historians, students seeking primary sources, as well as access by academic and scholarly historians, researchers and institutions.

These personal collections made possible by the Shades of L.A. project celebrated everyday lives, and the publicity and exposure was well-received.  It was a good time for another book, Chavez Ravine (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999).  This was a photo history of the Mexican American enclave nestled in the Elysian Hills famously removed and excavated to eventually become the baseball venue, Dodgers Stadium.  A young amateur photographer Don Normark had stumbled upon the “Shangri-la” in 1949, gradually befriended the residents and photographed them in depth before he realized their homes were doomed.

Courtesy of the Seaver Center

A history-minded music project was the 2005 Chavez Ravine:  a Record by Ry Cooder.  Singer Cooder was influenced by Normark's photography.

Arcadia Publishing

Since 1993 the Charleston, South Carolina-based Arcading Publishing has churned out the ubiquitous and popular local history picture books (the Images of America series, Postcard History series, etc.).  In the beginning the focus regions were along the eastern seaboard; the company was based at the time in Dover, New Hampshire.  They gradually included coverage of the South and Midwest. 

Some of the first titles in southern California were Lordsburg and La Verne in November 1999, followed the next year by Santa Barbara: American Riviera, California, Santa Barbara in Vintage Postcards, and Long Beach in Vintage Postcards (all of these early titles were authored by the same postcard collector as part of Arcadia’s Postcard History series). 

As the California market expanded, in February, 2001 under the Postcard History series, Old Los Angeles and Pasadena in Vintage Postcards came out, followed by San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly the following month.  Los Angeles, California was an early west coast title under the Images of America series, published in April, 2001; Huntington Beach came out later that June.  The Images of America, San Bernardino, appeared in 2002.  Topical titles started appearing (St. Francis Dam Disaster (2003); San Luis Obispo: a History in Architecture (2004); and Camp San Luis Obispo (2004). 

While in the spring of 2002 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Idaho, Utah, Alaska and Hawaii had yet to be developed, by 2005 the San Francisco Chronicle stated that 240 titles for the California were in print.

Professor Mark Rice of St. John Fisher College wrote a 2009 essay critiquing Arcadia’s business model, the employ of non-professional historians in producing books that are not fact-checked, and Rice make cautionary points of the use of images to tell history:  http://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=amst_facpub

Dawson's Book Shop Imprint

Long before Arcadia Publishing brought their small historical pictorials to the masses, authors of local history found bonds with Dawson's Book Shop, although Dawson's printed limited runs.  Here are just some:

Courtesy of the Seaver Center


Other Historical Research Gems & Favorites of This Blogger

Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913 Containing the Reminiscences of Harris Newmark (Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1984).  Available full text on Internet Archive:

Pictured is the 4th edition of the original 1916 work
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Boyle Workman's The City That Grew as Told to Caroline Walker (Los Angeles: Southland Publishing Co., 1935):


Courtesy of the Seaver Center
L.J. Rose of Sunny Slope 1827-1899: California Pioneer, Fruit Grower, Wine Maker, Horse Breeder by L.J. Rose, Jr. (San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1959).  Leonard J. Rose conducted business through many avenues, just as many pioneers of Los Angeles like Temple, Workman, Beaudry, and Keller.  While he is remembered as the founder of the San Gabriel Valley city of Rosemead, he had a house in L.A., raced his horses at Agricultural Park, and his kids attended school in the city, too.  The Rose family was one example of emigrants who experienced treacherous risks crossing the country to come out West, particularly from danger of Indian attacks.  But in the winter of his life, burdened by financial trouble, Rose killed himself.


Los Angeles A to Z: an Encyclopedia of the City and County, by Leonard and Dale Pitt (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1997).  Historian and author Leonard Pitt was Professor Emeritus of History from Cal State Northridge (died in July, 2015).  His wife and collaborator on this book, Dale, died in 2008.


Lynn Bowman's Los Angeles: Epic of a City (Berkeley, Calif.: Howell-North Books, 1974):


Robert Glass Cleland (1885-1957) taught history at Occidental College.  The original edition of The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Southern California, 1850-80 (San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1941) is available full-text on the Web at http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001610781.

Pictured is the second edition from 1951

Land in California: the Story of Mission Lands, Ranchos, Squatters, Mining Claims, Railroad Grants, Land Scrip, Homesteads (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1948) by W.W. Robinson.  This is available full-text at the Internet Archive.  William Wilcox Robinson published extensively and also wrote introductions and forewords for other authors of L.A. history.  According to the UCLA finding aid for his archival papers "while working as a professional property title researcher for the Title Guarantee (later named Insurance) and Trust Company in Los Angeles, and later as vice-president, he developed an extensive knowledge of local history and land development; wrote many pamphlets, articles, and books on Southern California history, including: Ranchos Become Cities (1939), Land in California (1948), Los Angeles, a Profile (1968), and Bombs and Bribery (1969); he also wrote poetry, fiction, children's books, and essays;"

Title Page
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Another work of W.W. Robinson, Maps of Los Angeles (Los Angeles: Dawson's Bookshop, 1966):

Title Page
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)

Neal Harlow published a study of the maps of L.A. 10 years following Robinson:

Title Page of the Maps and Surveys
of the Pueblo Lands of Los Angeles
(Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1976)
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)
Other Bibliographies on L.A.
The above-mentioned Bibliography of a Metropolis had a follow-up volume covering the subsequent years - Los Angeles and Its Environs in the Twentieth Century: a Bibliography of a Metropolis 1970-1990, with a Directory of Resources in Los Angeles County, compiled and edited by former City Archivist Hynda L. Rudd (Los Angeles: The Los Angeles City Historical Society, 1996).

Historian Richard Longstretch began A Historical Bibliography of the Built Environment in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area in 1998, and it has been kept up-to-date.  Categories on this list are General Histories and Urbanism; Architecture and Landscape Architecture; Architects and Landscape Architects; Houses and Housing; Architecture and Urbanism in California; and Popular Pictorial Histories.  This bibliography is found on the Society of Architectural Historians website under by choosing one of the Historical Bibliographies.  http://www.sah.org/docs/default-source/bibliographies/bibliography_commercialarchitecture_revised.pdf?sfvrsn=8

A couple of little books on books:  Books of the Los Angeles District by J. Gregg Layne (Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1950) and A Select Los Angeles Bibliography 1872-1970 compiled and annotated by Rev. Francis J. Weber (Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, [1970].  Here you will find worthwhile titles overlooked by this blog posting.  To be understated, Monsignor Weber is one of the most prolific historians, specializing in local and regional Catholic history.

Title Page & Book Cover
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center)