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Bullock's Department Store Collection of Photographs: Finding Aid
photCL 401  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Index Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Bullock's Department Store Collection of Photographs
    Dates (inclusive): 1905-1971
    Bulk dates: (bulk 1912-1945)
    Collection Number: photCL 401
    Creator: Bullock's (Department store)
    Extent: 709 photographs (including prints and glass plate negatives) and ephemera in 15 boxes (15.38 linear feet)
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: rarebooks@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Bullock's Department Store Collection consists of 680 photographs and 29 glass plate negatives related to the Los Angeles, California-based department store between 1905 and 1971 (bulk 1912-1945), as well as 2 boxes of ephemera pertaining to Bullock's publicity and events between 1915 and 1952. The collection focuses primarily on the retail spaces, displays, departments, and employees at the downtown Los Angeles store once located at Broadway, 7th, and Hill Streets. The photographs document the various functions associated with the store including the full range of departments; window displays; store merchandising; employee activities and gatherings; children's parties and parades; advertising billboards; the August sales event and crowds; and construction scenes from 1912 and 1928. Photographers include Warren Bowen Studios; Brown and Warrington; duBois Photo Co.; Frank C. Elliott; Jim England; Graham Photo; Keystone Photo; J.C. Milligan; Ernest Pratt; Otto Rothschild; Stagg Photography; Art Streib; "Dick" Whittington Studio; Whitland Locke Commercial Photography; and Witzel Photo.
    Language: English.

    Access

    The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Bullock's Department Store Collection of Photographs. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Ted Stiner, 1996.

    Processing Information

    The collection was rehoused and numbered, and a Container List prepared, by Jane Apostol in 2005. The original finding aid was prepared by Jennifer Watts in August 2005.

    Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements

    Arrangements for viewing the glass plate negatives must be made with the Curator of Photographs.

    Historical Note

    The original Bullock's Department Store was designed by the architectural firm of Parkinson and Bergstrom and opened in March 1907 at 639-657 South Broadway in Los Angeles, California. Bullock's flagship store proved so successful that it expanded quarters in 1912. The company purchased adjacent buildings in 1917 and 1919 for a total of 460,000 square feet. "By 1920," writes Richard Longstreth, "Bullock's and Robinson's functioned as anchors to an elite shopping precinct that was unprecedented in Los Angeles." Between 1923 and 1928, Bullock's added an additional 400,000 square feet through the construction of three more additions while also purchasing two adjacent buildings. Bullock's Inc. eventually opened a second store on Wilshire Boulevard (1929) as well as additional stores in Westwood Village (1932), Pasadena (1947), and Fashion Square in Orange County (1958).

    Scope and Contents

    The Bullock's Department Store Collection consists of 680 photographs and 29 glass plate negatives related to the Los Angeles, California-based department store between 1905 and 1971 (bulk 1912-1945), as well as 2 boxes of ephemera related to Bullock's publicity and events between 1915 and 1952. The materials focus primarily on the retail spaces, displays, departments, and employees at the downtown Los Angeles store once located at Broadway, 7th, and Hill Streets. The collection is the remnant of (what seems to have been) a larger archive of albums assembled and annotated in-house to document the various functions associated with the store. As such, the photographs depict every aspect of the store's workings including: the full range of departments, many shown with thematic decorations for holidays and special events; window displays; store merchandising; employee activities and gatherings such as dances, holiday parties, Easter worship services and group portraits; children's parties and parades; advertising billboards; the August sales event and crowds; and construction scenes from 1912 and 1928.
    The collection is particularly strong in its documentation of the store's window displays and merchandising efforts. There are also many pictures of mannequins dressed in the latest fashions for men, women, and children. The World War II home front effort is a theme that occurs throughout the collection in various display motifs and in employee events. Many photographs depict the store's workforce including female sales clerks, male cooks and security guards, and African American employees in various capacities. Eight pictures at the end of Volume 9 depict Bullock's branch locations including the famed Bullock's Wilshire store. Volume 11 contains promotional and ephemeral materials from 1948 through 1952 associated with the Bullock's Wilshire store.
    Photographers represented in the collection include Warren Bowen Studios; Brown and Warrington; duBois Photo Co.; Frank C. Elliott; Jim England; Graham Photo; Keystone Photo; J.C. Milligan; Ernest Pratt; Otto Rothschild; Stagg Photography; Art Streib; "Dick" Whittington Studio; Whitland Locke Commercial Photography; and Witzel Photo.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged by format: loose photographs (Box 1), photograph albums (Boxes 2-11), ephemera (Boxes 12-13), and glass plate negatives (Boxes 14-15).

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Index Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Persons:

    Elliott, Frank C.
    England, Jim.
    Milligan, J. C.
    Pratt, Ernest Mitchell, 1876-1945.
    Rothschild, Otto.
    Streib, Art.

    Organizations:

    Bullock's Wilshire (Department store)--Photographs.
    Bullock's (Department store)--Employees--Photographs.
    Bullock's (Department store)--Recreational use--Photographs.
    Brown and Warrington.
    Dick Whittington Studio.
    Dubois Photo Company.
    Graham Photo Co. (Los Angeles, Calif.).
    Keystone Photo Service.
    Stagg Photographers (Los Angeles, Calif.).
    Warren Bowen Studios.
    Whitland Locke Commercial Photography.
    Witzel Photo.

    Subjects:

    African-Americans--Employment--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Building construction--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Children--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Children's clothing--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Department stores--California--Los Angeles County--Photographs.
    Display of merchandise--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Fashion design--Photographs.
    Furniture--Photographs.
    Holiday decorations--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Indians of North America--Clothing--Exhibitions--Photographs.
    Indians of North America--Photographs.
    Indian pottery--North America--Photographs.
    Indian textile fabrics--North America--Photographs.
    Mannequins (Figures)--Photographs.
    Pageants--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Sales promotion--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Selling--Cosmetics--Photographs.
    Show-windows--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    War work--California--Los Angeles--1910-1920--Photographs.
    War work--California--Los Angeles--1940-1950--Photographs.
    Women--Employment--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.
    Women's clothing--California--Los Angeles--Photographs.

    Document Types:

    Ephemera.
    Negatives.
    Photograph albums.
    Photographs.