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Finding Aid for the Miriam Matthews collection of Los Angeles Newspapers on African Americans, ca. 1948-1985
1839  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Collection consists of newspapers collected by Miriam Matthews, mostly published for the African American community in Los Angeles and concerning African American topics. Titles include the California Eagle (1958-1959), Los Angeles Sentinel (1955-1985) and the Los Angeles Tribune (1958) as well as some clippings and pages of other newspapers from the Los Angeles area.
Background
Miriam Matthews was born on August 6, 1905 in Pensacola, Florida and moved to Los Angeles with her family two years later. After graduating from Los Angeles High School in 1922, Matthews studied at the University of California, Southern Branch (now UCLA) for two years. She transferred to the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated with a B.A. in 1926 and a certificate in librarianship in 1927, becoming the first known certified African American librarian in California. Matthews began her career at the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) in 1927 and became a branch librarian in 1934. She took two leaves of absence from LAPL, one in 1940 to work at the New York Public Library in a librarian exchange program and another from 1944 to 1945 in order to earn a master's degree in library science from the University of Chicago. In 1949, she was promoted to regional librarian, a position she held until her retirement from LAPL in 1960. Matthews was one of the first people to advocate for the establishment of Negro History Week (now African American History Month) in Los Angeles, leading to its official observance by the City of Los Angeles in 1931. In 1946, she became chairman of the California Library Association Committee on Intellectual Freedom. The following year, she was appointed to the American Library Association Committee on Intellectual Freedom (1947-1951) where she contributed to the 1948 revision of the Library Bill of Rights. In 1977, Gov. Edmund Brown appointed Matthews to the California Heritage Preservation Commission and California State Historic Records Advisory Board. She contributed to the establishment of an archives and records management program for the City of Los Angeles in 1979. While a member of the Los Angeles 200 Committee in 1981, Matthews proposed and implemented the construction of a historical plaque detailing the names, ages, and races of the city founders. Matthews died on Mercer Island, Washington on June 23, 2003. In 2003, the Los Angeles Historical Society established the annual Miriam Matthews Award in her honor. The Los Angeles Public Library Hyde Park branch was renamed for her in 2004.
Extent
42 oversize flat boxes (16.5 linear ft.)
Restrictions
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Availability
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.