Lake Arrowhead in the 1920s – Images of “Hollywood’s Playground” in the Adelbert Bartlett Collection

June 19th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Young people in motorboat "Graceful," Lake Arrowhead, 1929

Aquaplaning and rodeos, jazz bands and golfing – what’s your preference?  Adelbert Bartlett, a photographer who worked mostly in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, made frequent trips to Lake Arrowhead in 1929 to shoot leisure, fun, and growing real estate development in the mountains.

Aquaplaning: the single-board predecessor of water skiing.

The very serious Lake Arrowhead Orchestra, covered in streamers: Ray Hatfield, Bill Ward, trumpet; Don Rice, violin; Bob Brown, banjo; Jimmy Wiggs, Bob Parrett, clarinet; Hap Allen, saxophone.


The Lake Arrowhead Rodeo

Tex Young at the Lake Arrowhead Rodeo

Child actor and rodeo performer Little Buck Dale

Sally Phipps was a young actress who had been in a few films in the 1920s.  Bartlett took her photograph at Lake Arrowhead in a number of poses:

 Bartlett also documented some of the rapidly growing real estate development in the area:

Southern California Building and Loan Association, Lake Arrowhead

Motorboat races must have been exciting...

...and the arrival of the Sikorsky S38-A "The Flying Fish" amphibian plane.

Golf was and still is popular at Lake Arrowhead. The rough areas look pretty rough.

Even deteriorating logging equipment can be an excuse to photograph young women in bathing suits.

Author Bert Levy and cartoonist Clifford McBride, out on the lake

The Ashbridge Flyer

In Adelbert Bartlett's handwritten notes for one set of Arrowhead images, it says: "Best - child on sand." This seems to be the favorite photograph it refers to.


Becky Spiro

UCLA Library Cataloging & Metadata Center

Raw foods, raised fists, and children without names

May 30th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

On December 26, 1938, Time magazine ran this item in its wonderfully succinct Milestones column:

Born. To Dr. St. Louis Estes, 73, famed California food faddist (nuts, raw foods), and his wife: their seventh son, twelfth child; in San Francisco. Like all the other Estes boys, this one will be called St. Louis. Estes daughters have no first names.

This follows an earlier mention of Mrs. St. Louis Estes (whose own first name is Esther) in Time after the birth of her eleventh child, a girl, in1937, in which she is quoted as saying:

“Names are really inconsequential so we have not taken the time to name them. They respond to Dimple and Chickadee so why bother?”

Some  years earlier, however, when the family had only eight children, Mrs. Estes dedicated her book Raw food menu & recipe book to them by name:

To My Eight Adorable Children

Suzanne (Honey Baby, my first), St. Louis II (Sonny), Dixie Lou Medora, St. Louis III (Howie), the twins, St. Louis IV (Fatty), St. Louis V (Sugar Plum), Natacha Moraine (Twiddledewinks) and St. Louis VI, my youngest.

Whatever their names, the UCLA Digital Library has some lovely photographs of them, as well as their eccentric parents.   The photographs are all part of the Bartlett collection, taken by Santa Monica-based commercial photographer Adelbert Bartlett between 1928 and 1936, when Dr. St. Louis Estes, who must have had both admirers and detractors, was in the Los Angeles area promoting his version of a healthy lifestyle.

cabbage kids





Dr. St. Louis Albert Estes claimed to be “the cripple who rebuilt himself”—choosing a diet of only raw and natural food to bring himself back from ill health, paralysis, blindness, and baldness.  Esther Estes was his second wife (his first, Clara Estes, sued him for desertion), and seems to have been in agreement with his philosophy, raising all the children, from birth, on only raw foods.   Perhaps they were a visionary family, ahead of their time, seeming as if they might have been more at home in the 1960s than the 1930s.  Perhaps they were charlatans, selling their ideas about health to a gullible public.


Dr. Estes wasn’t, of course, the only one selling health in the early 20th century.  Health fads have a long history in the United States, and the UCLA Digital Library also includes a collection of  patent medicine trade cards.

Carter's backache plasters

The true motivation of the Estes family may never be known—nor the reason Dr. Estes likes to be photographed with his fist raised—but the story told by the photographs seems to be a determined and nonconformist sincerity.


Dr. St. Louis Estes


child and dad


Dr. St. Louis Estes, still strong

Becky Spiro
UCLA Library Cataloging and Metadata Center


Shirley Temple Slept Here

May 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink



When Shirley Temple was at the height of her fame, at not quite six years old, her parents, George and Gertrude

Temple, invited photographer Adelbert Bartlett into their home.  Apparently he was not allowed to take pictures of Shirley herself, but he photographed the house, her bedroom, her playhouse, and her backyard.


Photographs from the Adelbert Bartlett Collection, UCLA Digital Collections:
George and Gertrude Temple residence, Santa Monica, 1934

She had small wooden animals...

...a large lollipop...

...and a charming playhouse.


Two of the photos are nearly identical, but someone has switched the places of the doll and the teddy bear.

The change was probably made by Mr. Bartlett, to capture the reflection of the doll in the mirror…

…but it’s nice to imagine Shirley, on the day of the photographer’s visit, arranging her room to suit her own preferences.


Becky Spiro
UCLA Library Cataloging & Metadata Center

C. C. Pierce, a Pioneer Los Angeles Photographer

April 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Boulders and palm trees in a Palm Canyon, Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, circa 1901

C. C. Pierce was a pioneer Los Angeles photographer, working from circa 1886-1946, whose photographs document Los Angeles and southern California. Pierce was also a photograph collector and dealer and many of the images in this collection are by his contemporaries as well. The beautifully composed, often atmospheric views are a testament to the practice of early photographers to work according to the principles of painting.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, arcades enclosing quadrangle, Oceanside, circa 1887

Of particular note is the documentation of surviving structures from the missions and rancho land grants of California. Fourteen missions, including lesser-known “asistencias” (sub-missions under the control of larger missions) and three ranchos are documented.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo, exterior view prior to restoration, Carmel, circa 1875

Interior of the chapel at the San Antonio de Pala Asistencia, Pala, circa 1898

These historically important nitrate images show the buildings, with their original decor and surroundings, before restoration or, in some cases, complete ruin. Two rancho images document actual working ranch activities such as sheep washing (Rancho Guajome) and sheep shearing (Rancho Camulos).

Native American sheep sheerers at Rancho Camulos standing in front of an adobe building, near Piru, 1885

Of note is the image of the Civil War era barracks in Wilmington.

Civil War era barracks guard house at the Drum Barracks, Wilmington, Los Angeles, circa 1910

The collection also shows now-demolished Los Angeles civic buildings such as the ca. 1900 County Courthouse,

Los Angeles County Courthouse, Los Angeles, circa 1900-1910

civic life in downtown LA, through a series on the various locations of Boos Bros cafeterias which can be enlarged to allow the identification of neighboring businesses,

Boos Bros Cafeteria on the 300 block of S. Broadway, Los Angeles, circa 1929

Boos Bros Cafeteria on the 300 block of S. Broadway, Los Angeles, circa 1929

and the yet undeveloped areas around Los Angeles such as Topanga Canyon and the San Fernando Valley.

Birdseye view of the San Fernando Valley from the Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, circa 1923-1928

William Mulholland (possibly) standing on a dirt drive between rows of large trees, California

Finally, the collection holds surprises, such as an unidentified image which appears to possibly portray William Mulholland, with his signature hat, mustache and confident pose,

Detail from photograph above

when compared to an identified portrait such as this one from the USC Digital Library.

Martha Steele, UCLA Library Cataloging & Metadata Center

Bartlett Photographs: Southern CA (and Beyond) in the 1920s and 1930s

March 13th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

View from Royce Hall towards Powell Library, evoking the image of an Italian Romanesque piazza, UCLA, Los Angeles, 1928

We have just begun to create catalog records for the nitrate negative images in the Adelbert Bartlett collection. There is a tremendous variety of subject matter in this commercial photographer’s collection, from the early development of the real estate and tourism industries to local Los Angeles area activities to promotion for a prestigious private school in Turkey.  For example, Bartlett photographed the Rancho Malibu la Costa housing development while it was under construction. The development, located between Carbon Canyon and Las Flores Canyon, was the first subdivision on Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit land. The rancho owner had recently lost the financially ruinous legal battle to keep California Highway 1 (PCH) off of the Rancho land and needed to generate income.

Rancho Malibu la Costa

View towards beach house under construction in the Rancho Malibu la Costa development, Malibu, circa 1927

Aerial coastline view of the Rancho Malibu la Costa development area, Malibu, circa 1927

Bartlett photographed the Hotel Playa Ensenada, a luxurious Baja California vacation destination offering a casino and alcoholic beverages during prohibition.

Hotel Playa Ensenada

Couple seated in front of the Hotel Playa Ensenada, Ensenada, 1931

The collection also documents local activities such as the 1927 Rose Parade

Motorized float shaped like a wedding cake in the Rose Parade, Pasadena, 1927

and junior high school students at work.

Thomas Starr King Junior High School

Two school boys at Thomas Starr King Junior High School demonstrate a science experiment, Los Angeles

A photograph of Robert College in Istanbul (the part that is now the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi campus), founded by two Americans, includes a view of the towers of the Rumeli Hisari (15th century fortress) in the background.

Boğaziçi Üniversitesi

View towards the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi campus, Istanbul

Two other related images provide insight into Bartlett’s work process. To create a color version of the image, Bartlett wrote instructions for the colorist and sketched the colors onto a print of the image.

Bartlett’s instructions for coloring the photograph of View towards the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi campus, Istanbul

View towards the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi campus, Istanbul, with color sketched in by Bartlett to instruct colorist

The addition of descriptive metadata (i.e. information about the photographs) for these nitrate images will enable historians and other users to more fully evaluate the scope of Bartlett’s activity locally and abroad.

Martha Steele, UCLA Library Cataloging & Metadata Center



Ralph D. Cornell, Landscape Architect: Shaping Emerging Communities in Southern California

January 24th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

Site plan for Centinela Park, Inglewood, 1945


The Ralph D. Cornell archive offers fascinating perspective on land development in southern California.  Cornell was the first landscape architect to open an office in Los Angeles. It was the early 1920’s at the start of a real estate  boom, before most people knew what landscape architecture was. The development activity of that era is amply reflected in the nitrate negative documentation of Cornell’s landscape architecture work. For example, the coverage includes plans for 20 community parks,

  12 residential subdivisions,

General plan of Monte Mar Vista, Los Angeles, 1924

and seven colleges & universities. As such, Cornell’s work became part of the fabric of daily life in many southern California communities. Many of his designs survive in full or in part in public areas such as Cheviot Hills Park and the parkway along Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills (the fountain specified in the plan, and designed by architect Ralph Carlin Flewelling, is still at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.).

Sketch of Beverly Hills Parkway development, Beverly Hills, 1930

In addition, the nitrate images record the designs of important landscape architects for Montecito estates such as those of Wright S. Ludington (the Lansdowne Hermes, a Roman marble statue now in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, is visible at the end of a lawn),

Wright Saltus Ludington residence (Lockwood de Forest, landscape architect), view of the Lansdowne Hermes statue at end tree-bordered lawn, Montecito, 1931

George Owen Knapp (Cornell especially liked this garden, which was later destroyed by fire),

George Owen Knapp residence (Charles G. Adams, landscape architect), stairs ascending to fountain framed by eucalyptus trees with mountains in background, Montecito, 1931

John Percival Jefferson (one of the few life-size versions of Frederick William MacMonnies famous Bacchante statue was in the reflecting pool),

John Percival Jefferson residence (Paul Thiene, landscape architect), view towards house from reflection pool with statue of a bacchante by MacMonnies, Montecito, 1931

James Waldron Gillespie,

James Waldron Gillespie residence (Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, landscape architect), view from house towards fountain with pool parterre, Montecito, 1932

and Alfred E. Dieterich,

Alfred E. Dieterich residence (Lockwood de Forest, landscape architect), view of succulent garden with stone path, Montecito, 1931

and the Beverly Hills estate of Harvey Mudd.

Harvey Mudd residence (Edward Huntsman-Trout, landscape architect), sundial terrace, Beverly Hills, 1933

Although Cornell did not consider his work for private clients to be a substantial part of his practice, the nitrate images document a few private commissions such as the lovely gardens of the W. R. Dunsmore Residence which Cornell worked on over a number of years.

W. R. Dunsmore residence, exterior view towards house from driveway, Los Angeles, 1930

Cornell played a role in the ongoing preservation of missions and ranchos as well. A study of his own quite beautiful hand painted design for the reconstruction of the grounds of the San Diego Mission (planned with Arthur B. Benton), which includes stands of “scattered olive… live oaks… pines or eucalypts… sycamores… chaparral… native shrubs” in fields of  “mustard and wild oats… poppies… wild flowers,” makes one want to drive right down to see it.

Reconstruction and development of the grounds of the San Diego Mission, San Diego, 1919

He also designed the grounds of the 1844 adobe ranch house at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach when the house underwent renovation in 1930-1931.

Rancho Los Cerritos, view from the forecourt towards the restored house, wall and gate, Long Beach, 1931

Cornell was an avid photographer and documented his European and California travels with images of architecture and plant species.

Desert and mountains with cactus (Yucca mojavense), shrubs, and yucca in foreground, Devil’s Garden, 1927

And he also created lovely photographic images of his family, like this one showing three generations seated on a gentle slope next to a tree and against a backdrop of shrubbery, enjoying the outdoors.

Maude, Ralph and Rosita Cornell, 1933

Martha Steele, UCLA Library Cataloging & Metadata Center


In the News: Hot Enough for You?

October 13th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


The History of Air Conditioning

Cover of the pamphlet

The Story of Air Conditioning, a fact-filled 16-page pamphlet distributed by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Machinery Association sometime between 1940 and 1953, is available for reading at History & Special Collections for the Sciences on the 4th floor of the Biomedical Library. It also is online at: <>.

This recent acquisition—the only recorded copy, found by West Sand Lake, New York-based ephemera dealer aGatherin’—uses the characters Tempy (temperature), Drippy (humidity), Stirry (air circulation), and Dusty (cleanliness) to answer the question, “Did you ever wonder why you are so much more comfortable in air conditioned surroundings?” [Italics are theirs.]  The pamphlet is wittily illustrated by John Groth, who was the art editor of Esquire in the 1930s and combat correspondent and artist for the Chicago Sun during World War II.

by Russell A. Johnson


First Day of Classes

September 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

UCLA undergraduates started fall quarter 2011 this Thursday. To celebrate, we take a look at images from previous first days:

Chemistry Building Opens in 1929


September 30, 1929

First Day of Classes 1929, in front of Powell Library

Happy 103rd birthday, Walter L. Gordon, Jr.!

June 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

On Monday, June 20, the UCLA Library hosted a celebration of Walter L. Gordon, Jr.’s 103rd birthday, and his long, productive life as an attorney, civic leader, and historian.

Walter L. Gordon, Jr. & Judge William C. Beverly, Jr.

We also took the occasion to honor Judge William C. Beverly, Jr., who graciously donated the legacy of Mr. Gordon’s many years of collecting historical photographs documenting life in Los Angeles: the Walter L. Gordon, Jr./William C. Beverly, Jr. digital collection. You can find our earlier post about this collection here.

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Central Avenue By Way of Santa Monica: A Glimpse at L.A.’s Early Twentieth Century History

June 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Frederick Roberts in Los Angeles, 1930s

Frederick Roberts, the first African American elected to the California Assembly, represented a district that was 70% white from 1918 to 1934 when he was defeated by the New Dealer, a young man named Augustus Hawkins. The Roberts family owned a mortuary in which Frederick was employed; he was also the publisher of the New Age newspaper. The City of Los Angeles named a park after him.

The Walter L. Gordon, Jr./William C. Beverly, Jr. digital collection represents the approximately 800 photographs housed in UCLA Library Special Collections. The photographs and their digital representations are an extraordinary example of one man’s diligence in creating a record of his stratum of the Los Angeles African American community from about WWI through the 1960s. African American attorney, Walter L. Gordon, Jr. was born in 1908 in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica to educated parents. By 1936, he had established his law practice; he retired in 2004, after nearly seventy years practicing law.

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