USC Plans To Digitize Over 37,000 Unseen Photos Of L.A. During The 1930s & ’40s

Malia Wooten Malia Wooten

USC Plans To Digitize Over 37,000 Unseen Photos Of L.A. During The 1930s & ’40s

The National Historical Publications and Rewards Commission (NHPRC) awarded The University of Southern California with a $278,00 grant!

Soon over 37,000 unseen photographs which captured the growth of Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s will be accessible to researchers around the world. The venture is part of Invisible L.A. , a focus on the underexplored period of the 20th century that helped to shape the image of the Los Angeles we know today!

From growth within the aerospace, automobile and film industries to the city’s constantly flourishing roadways and car culture; Los Angeles has taken many of its defining characteristics from its past.

The collection of the Dick and Whittington commercial photography studio helps to fill critical gaps in history believed to have helped shape the “California dream.”

Back in 2011, the USC libraries received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize 34,000 volatile nitrate negatives from the Dick Whittington Studio collections. The images were taken in the 1920s and ’30s; this new NHPRC-funded project will pick up from where the project left off, creating a beautiful chronological series of photographs that ends after the battle of World World II.

The project team working under Invisible L.A. includes Giao Luong Baker, Deb Holmes-Wong, Suzanne Noruschat, Wayne Shoaf, Louise Smith, and Tim Stanton.

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