Disneyland Readied by “Mr. Magic”

May 21st, 2015

In late June, 1955, Walt Disney gave Los Angeles Times reporter Ed Ainsworth a tour of his latest project, an amusement park called Disneyland, less than a month before it opened to the public. As workers hurried to finish the trains, boats and scenery in time for the grand opening, LA Times readers got a peak into what would become the most famous amusement park in the world. Below are some behind-the-scenes images of Walt in the unfinished Disneyland in the weeks leading up to its unveiling.

Artist Clyde Forsythe, Mrs. Forsythe and Walt Disney take a look at the workmen putting the finishing touches on the Mark Twain and the Rivers of America. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 93738. UCLA Library Special Collections.

No horses needed for the horse-drawn trolley when Mr. Disney is around! Walt gives Mrs. Forsythe the first ride past the train station by pushing the car up Main Street. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 93738. UCLA Library Special Collections.

Walt and Clyde examine the moat and castle which provide the entrance to Fantasyland. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 93738. UCLA Library Special Collections.

Walt (leaning against a post on the pier) hurries workers to complete Adventureland before the televised opening of the park. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 93738. UCLA Library Special Collections.

While Disneyland has certainly expanded since its opening in 1955, many of the landmarks and attractions can still be seen on a visit to the park today. Walt’s visions for not only the layout of the park, but also the feelings of magic, fantasy, adventure, and fun have persisted throughout the last 60 years, and promise to continue far into the future.

By Jen O’Leary

Title, photographs and story of the tour from: Ainsworth, E. (1955, Jun 23). Disneyland Readied by ‘Mr. Magic.’ Los Angeles Times (1923-Current file). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/166786457?accountid=14512.

Richard Neutra in World War I: Sketches and Watercolors (1914-18)

May 20th, 2015

Self-portrait, 1917. Richard and Dion Neutra papers (Collection 1179), UCLA Library Special Collections.

In contrast to the richness, security, and relative comfort of his first two decades as a youth and student in Vienna, Richard Neutra (1892-1970) would experience, after 1914, the less happy traumas of war and illness. Following the assassination in Sarajevo in June 1914 of Imperial Hapsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, by Serbian nationalists yearning to secede from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Neutra was sent as a reserve artillery lieutenant in the town of Trebinje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a remote outpost near present-day Dubrovnik, Croatia, on the eastern shore of the Adriatic. After the outbreak of war in August, the primary mission of Neutra’s unit was patrolling the coast to spot approaching enemy ships. Its only combat involved small skirmishes with Slavic partisans in Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia.

Horse and Serpent, 1915. Watercolor, gold and silver paint on paper. Richard and Dion Neutra papers (Collection 1179), UCLA Library Special Collections.

During those years, however, as an ever-observant traveler, Neutra relished his encounters with new people and places and did sketches and watercolors of them and of the area’s physical and cultural landscape. He was especially intrigued with the vestiges of old Islamic architecture throughout the Balkans. But his own professional architectural skills lay largely in abeyance. In Trebinje he designed and built only a small officer’s “teahouse,” a modest structure that primitively anticipated his life-long penchant for simple post-and-beam pavilions. During and after the war, because of persistent malaria and incipient tuberculosis, Neutra also suffered bouts of depression, as revealed in somber black-and-white drawings.

Dark landscape, ca. 1918. Charcoal on paper. Richard and Dion Neutra papers (Collection 1179), UCLA Library Special Collections

This exhibition, curated by Thomas S. Hines, UCLA Research Professor of History and of Architecture and Urban Design, author of Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture (1982, 2005), includes selections from UCLA’s holdings of Neutra’s sketches and watercolors, housed within the Richard and Dion Neutra Papers. The installation design is by Octavio Olvera, visual arts specialist, UCLA Library Special Collections. Now on view until June 30, 2015.

Place, Identity, and the Armenian Genocide

May 5th, 2015

On April 24, 2015, Armenians worldwide commemorated the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Recognized internationally, but denied by the Turkish government as resulting from a systemic intent, the Genocide represents a fundamental shift in the lives of Armenians. Expelled from their ancestral homes in Anatolia through deportation and massacre, Armenians became a diasporic population. In many cases, the original trauma of expulsion was followed by subsequent, successive displacements, as they sought refuge at a time when the borders of what is known as the Middle East were being maneuvered by external actors.

Discussions of the Genocide point to the numbers of its victims (1.5 million), to the documentary evidence of its atrocities, to the nature of the lives and communities that existed before. As someone whose family history has crossed continents over decades, I am interested in the nature of lives in transition. For this reason, I have used my family’s history to explore the effects of the Genocide as the originating event of the status of Armenians as wandering persons.

This exhibit sought to explore and illustrate this history through the materials housed in UCLA Library Special Collections. You are invited to follow the journey in this interactive StoryMap.


By Lori Dedeyan


A Peek at the History of LA’s Beaches

April 30th, 2015

Even though Los Angeles enjoys summer temperatures for most of the year, the beginning of May signals the start of summer thoughts. The end of the school year is approaching, vacation plans are being made, and temperatures are climbing into official beach weather. In the 1950s, for Los Angeles’ West Side residents, this meant the start of the beach season.

Santa Monica Swimming Club members enjoy a day at the beach in 1954. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 88043. UCLA Library Special Collections.

Santa Monica Swimming Club members enjoy a day at the beach in 1954. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 88043. UCLA Library Special Collections.

Santa Monica Swimming Club members enjoy a day at the beach in 1954. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 88043. UCLA Library Special Collections.

With picnics, furry friends, warm sun and cool water, the Pacific Ocean was, and still is, a prime summer destination. Looks like the only changes in the last 60 years are the styles of the bathing suits!


By Jen O’Leary

Highlighting Collections of Armenian Materials at UCLA Library

April 28th, 2015

UCLA Library is widely known as one of the largest repositories of Armenian materials in North America, the Armenian collections as diverse in subject as in medium. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we would like to focus our attention toward some of our Armenian collections pertinent to the occasion.

One impressive archive is the William Sachtleben Collection (1890-1893). The collection is described as “Photographs relating to a world tour on bicycle which Sachtleben began from England and completed in New York City, from 1890 to 1893. The collection also contains prints, letters, clippings and other papers relating to his stay in Turkey from 1895-1896, where he was sent by Outing Magazine to investigate the disappearance of a fellow American cyclist, Frank G. Lenz.”

The Sachtleben collection includes photo albums, correspondence, diaries, and most importantly, a nitrate photo collection that is now digitized. There are several photographs that were preserved from a much larger collection, which document the massacre of October 30, 1895 at Erzerum, Turkey. Digitized portions of the Sachtleben collection include:

Interior view of pupils and a teacher in an Armenian school, Kayseri, Turkey, 1891

William Sachtleben on bicycle and three Armenian men on horseback on the plains north of Lake Urmia, Iran, 1891

Athens travel diary: pages 1-2, Jan 3, 1891

The Erzerum massacres are considered a rehearsal of what was coming to the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire on a much larger scale in 1915. The Sachtleben photographs are partnered with letters describing the massacre from “an occasional correspondent” (Sachtleben) that were published in “The Times” (London, England), dated November 16, 1895, titled “The Massacre of Erzerum;” dated November 27, 1895, titled “The Massacres at Erzerum;” and December 09, 1895, titled “The Erzerum Massacres.” These letters can be accessed from The Times Digital Archive 1785-2006.

Occasional Correspondent, “The Massacres at Erzerum,” The Times, November 16, 1895

Another archival collection that has not been fully digitized contains some sources on the humanitarian assistance planned by the Armenian community of Isfahan, in Iran, for refugees of the Armenian Genocide, from the provinces of Van, in Turkey, and Azerbaijan, in Iran, who had found their way to Isfahan. Below are examples of some announcements from the Minasian Collection of Armenian Materials, ca. 1600-1968. These articles and announcements can be accessed at UCLA Library Special Collections by request.

“The Armenian Community of Isfahan has created an urgent committee to organize assistance to the refugees from the province of Van in Turkey. The Committee encourages all Armenians to help the refugees without complaint. The announcement mentions the dire situation that these refugees have found themselves in because of the barbarian treatment of the Ottoman Government. The Committee asks that the Isfahan Armenian community without any hesitation extend a helping hand to their brothers and sisters who have gone through so much leaving their homes, graves of their ancestors, their places of worship. The Committee urges the Armenian community to be kind and generous with their compatriots.” Caro Minasian Collection of Armenian Materials, ca. 1600-1968 (Collection 1632)

“80,000 refugees, 20,000 of them Armenians have arrived in Hamadan, Iran from Azerbaijan province of Iran. After 32 days of travel and enduring devastating war, they need medical attention, food, and clothing. The Committee on Refugees urges the Armenian community of Tehran to help the refugees. Procrastinating is a crime. Move swiftly to help the refugees.” Car0 Minasian Collection of Armenian Materials, ca. 1600-1968 (Collection 1632)

Additionally, there are newspaper clippings from Veratznound (Վերածնունդ) that contain re-published articles on the Armenian Genocide. These articles are daily eyewitness accounts from different sources published during the Genocide by Armenian papers.

Caro Minasian Collection of Armenian Materials, ca. 1600-1968 (Collection 1632)

Caro Minasian Collection of Armenian Materials, ca. 1600-1968 (Collection 1632)

UCLA Library also holds a large collection of print materials on the Armenian Genocide that can be searched under the following subject headings in the UCLA Library catalog:

  • Armenian question
  • Armenian massacres, 1894-1896
  • Armenian massacres, 1909
  • Armenian massacres, 1915-1923
  • Genocide–Turkey
  • Armenians–Turkey–Biography
  • Armenians–Turkey–History

Hovanisian, Richard G. Armenian Karin/Erzerum. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, 2003.

Pilibosian, Khachadoor, and Helene Pilibosian. They Called Me Mustafa: Memoir of an immigrant. Watertown, MA: Ohan, 1992.

The Martyr Armenian physicians during the Genocide: their legacy. Published in Boston in 1957. Karoyan, D.M. Mets Egherni Nahatak Hay Bzhishnere. Boston: 1957.


By Nora Avetyan and Martha Steele, UCLA Library, Cataloging & Metadata Center

Harry Potter: Wizard, Mailman, or Both?

April 16th, 2015

Long before J.K. Rowling had conjured up the worldwide phenomenon of the Harry Potter franchise, Mr. Harry Potter, of Santa Clarita, CA, was completing a daily 72-mile round trip route as an RDF Mailman.

In 1952, the Los Angeles Times profiled Potter, sharing the obstacles faced as a rural mailman, delivering packages and letters through the mountainous region of Southern California. Facing rain, snow, freezing temperatures, scorching heat, dirt and gravel roads, and a 72-mile route, the Times illustrated Potter as the embodiment of the post office motto: “Not snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed routes.”i

Mailman Potter delivers mail. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 78149. UCLA Library Special Collections.

The Times described Potter as, “a stocky, 56-year-old gray-thatched man with the amiability of an old-time saloonkeeper, the tact of a diplomat and the driving characteristics of an Indianapolis racer…”ii which is in sharp contrast to Potter, the boy wizard, but interestingly (coincidentally?), they both seem to have a similar taste in eyewear.

While Mailman Potter might not be the same wizard who children and adults have been voraciously following since the 1990s, he clearly obtained some magic in the 1950s to make it through his grueling daily postal rounds with a friendly smile and a good story.iii


By Jen O’Leary

i. Attributed to Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian.
ii. Will, Bob. (1952, Oct 20). RFD MEN LIVE UP TO SLOGAN–RAIN, SNOW CAN’T STOP MAIL. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File).
iii. Information on Mailman Potter taken from the Los Angeles Times story: Will, Bob. RFD MEN LIVE UP TO SLOGAN.

WE DID IT! 20,000 images available online!

April 14th, 2015

Half of the approximately 40,000 nitrate negative images digitized through the generous support of Arcadia are now available online — photographs that document Southern California history and culture during the city’s early modern years, including its architecture, design, commerce, movie making industry, civic activities, fashions, and notable people and events. Due to the volatile and unstable condition of nitrate film, these resources were in effect unavailable to users until now.

From sources as varied as newspapers, a Hollywood studio’s publicity archive, commercial photographers, a Los Angeles writer and bibliophile, a landscape architect, and a fashion editor, these images collectively present a broad resource about Southern California history from the early 1920′s through the 1930′s.

As on the online collection grows, interrelationships emerge. Together, the collections tell a richer story…


Robert Kalloch, costume designer, at his drawing table, circa 1932-1939 (Columbia Pictures Stills and Key books, UCLA Library Special Collections)

Robert Kalloch design: lavender dress with short gold bodice and fur-trimmed shoulders (Peggy Hamilton Adams Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections)

Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, 1867-1959 (Los Angeles Daily News, UCLA Library Special Collections)

Alice Millard residence, a textile block house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Pasadena, 1929 (Olive Percival Papers, UCLA Library Special Collections)


Jeane Hoffman: Pioneer in Sports Journalism

April 2nd, 2015

While scanning through photographs from the 1950s in the Los Angeles Times Photo Collection here at UCLA Special Collections, it is rare to see women depicted in professional settings, especially in male-dominated industries, but Jeane Hoffman’s picture keeps popping up again and again as the Times‘ sports writer. Since it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that women were allowed in professional sports press boxes, let alone the male locker rooms, her title and prominence at the time was an incredible feat.i

Hoffman started publishing sports cartoons at age 15 in the Hollywood Citizen-News and by 17, she was in the press box covering the Los Angeles Angels in the Pacific Coast League. In 1940, she moved to the east coast and got a job as a sports writer-cartoonist for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, becoming the first female to cover major league baseball spring training in Florida. This was followed by a job at the New York Journal-American writing a major league baseball column, “From the Feminine Viewpoint.”ii

In 1951, Hoffman returned to Los Angeles and got a job for the Los Angeles Times writing a weekly feature on sports, and she extensively covered the Brooklyn Dodgers’ move west. Additionally, in 1956, she became the first woman to be admitted to the Football Writers Association of America.iii

Jeane Hoffman helps Coast League Umpire Cece Carlucci “get his pipes oiled.” Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Negative 85663. UCLA Library Special Collections.

Despite the confidence of her editors that she could get the job done, occasionally they would have to add a short biography of Hoffman before an article to prove to readers that, “She knows the baseball picture there and here thoroughly.”iv And unfortunately, most of her stories did highlight the fact that she was a woman writing about sports (a man would probably not be helping Umpire Cece Carlucci “get his pipes oiled”).

Hoffman continued to fight though, and from her extensive covering of baseball, and her honors as a football writer, to becoming the first woman to drive a harness horse at the Hollywood Park racetrack,v Hoffman claimed more success than many of her male colleagues and broke barriers for women in sports journalism.

Jean Hastings Ardell writes that, “Her success can be attributed to talent, a healthy sense of humor, the support of a strong mother, and, perhaps, starting out in sportswriting so young that she simply did not accept the status quo.”vi

Many people today might not recognize Jeane Hoffman’s name, but her legacy lives on in the photographs and stories she wrote for the Los Angeles Times and other publications. Hopefully her career can inspire other young women to follow their dreams, regardless of the obstacles.

By Jen O’Leary

i. Ardell, Jean Hastings. “Jeane Hoffman: California Girl Makes Good in Press Box.” Society for American Baseball Research. 2011. http://sabr.org/research/jeane-hoffman-california-girl-makes-good-press-box title
ii. Ibid.
iii. “Jeane Hoffman Made Member of Grid Writers.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File). [Los Angeles, CA] 21 Dec 1956: C4.
Ardell. “Jeane Hoffman.”

iv. Ardell. “Jeane Hoffman.”
v. Hoffman, Jeane. “Jean at the Reins: It’s Tough Piloting Harness Horse–Even for Woman Driver.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, CA] 07 Nov 1956: C5
vi. Ardell. “Jeane Hoffman.”

UCLA Library Special Collections Digital Project Toolkit

March 25th, 2015

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the release of the UCLA Library Special Collections Digital Project Toolkit, available here:


UCLA Library Special Collections Digital Project Toolkit

Please share widely with your colleagues interested in digitization and digital scholarship projects!

The DPTK is designed to support digitization projects and digital scholarship projects that are initiated and managed in archives and special collections repositories, large and small. It includes detailed templates, workflows, and examples for all stages of digital projects, including:

  • Project planning (charters, selection, prioritization, cost estimate)
  • Risk assessment (guidelines and workflow, templates for risk reports and fair use statements)
  • Implementation planning (metadata guidelines and specifications, scanning specifications and procedures, metadata worksheet)
  • Web development planning (example of RFP, and templates for vendor decisions, design/aesthetic/functionality decisions, user profile templates)
  • Quality control workflow and guidelines for metadata and scanning
  • Communication/documentation tool for technical specifications
  • Assessment and evaluation tools and templates

The DPTK was created with the awareness that digitization/digital projects are collaborative efforts between archivists, digital librarians, metadata specialists, technical staff, faculty, and students, and that transparency, cooperation, and good project management are key to their ultimate success.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the many people who wrote, tested, critiqued, and revised the DPTK over its 2 year development, particularly the following staff from UCLA Library Special Collections:

  • Jasmine Jones, former Project Manager for the Los Angeles Aqueduct Digital Platform at UCLA, now the Metadata and Technical Services Archivist at Smith College
  • Gloria Gonzalez, former Digital Archivist at UCLA, now Library Strategist at Zepheira
  • Heather Briston, University Archivist at UCLA
  • Kylie Harris, former scholar at the Center for Primary Research & Training, now Assistant Information Management Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Amrey Mathurin, former scholar at the Center for Primary Research & Training, now Digital Projects Assistant at UCLA Library Special Collections
  • Numerous scholars in the Center for Primary Research & Training at UCLA Library Special Collections

Special thanks to the staff at the Archives of American Art—they may not know it but their Technical Documentation (available at http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/documentation) provided the inspiration for the DPTK.

The DPTK is a work in progress and we welcome your comments and questions! Please direct them to me at jcuellar@library.ucla.edu.




Jillian Cuellar

Head, Center for Primary Research & Training and Digital Initiatives
UCLA Library Special Collections
A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1575

Visualizing the “Friends of the Los Angeles River” Collection

March 17th, 2015

This week, UCLA Library Special Collections wrapped up a months-long project to digitize the administrative records of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the LA River as a natural habitat and a place for recreation. Over the course of the project, not only have we made the fascinating contents of this archive available online, but we have completed a tour of the collection, which can be viewed here.

The collection is not just administrative records. From photographs, to videos of performances on the LA River, to handwritten notes from FoLAR meetings, the FoLAR records are a multimedia glimpse into the planning and passion behind the nonprofit’s many successes. The collection fills over 100 boxes, but Special Collections has made some of the most intriguing material available here.

To give our visitors a sense of the types of material available to them in the FoLAR collection, we visualized its contents. The chart below gives an overview of our digital FoLAR collection, with larger sizes representing greater amounts of material, and color representing the type of material: yellow is photographs, purple is letters, blue is documents, red is administrative records, and green is promotional materials.

Source: This visualization was created with Raw Density Design.

For those interested in what these materials are all about, we have also visualized the topics of the collection’s materials.

Source: This visualization was created with Raw Density Design.

As you might expect, the nature organization’s records are most often concerned with nature – 128 of the items pertain to nature in some way. The diagram shows FoLAR’s most pressing concerns: the restoration of nature, the return of recreation to the LA River, and community education about the river’s past and future. The variety of topics, however, also shows FoLAR’s reach: while nature is at the heart of its mission, its projects are varied, from sponsoring local artists to create art about and along the river, to organizing volunteers for trash clean-up events, to monitoring the river’s water quality. The diversity of materials in the collection reflects FoLAR’s diverse tactics for achieving its mission of making the river a healthy habitat for animals, plants, and humans.


By Allison Hegel and Tori Schmitt, FoLAR Project Team