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"Dick" Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs: Finding Aid
photCL Whitt  
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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 Material
  • Index Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: "Dick" Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs
    Dates (inclusive): 1924-1948
    Collection Number: photCL Whitt
    Creator: "Dick" Whittington Studio
    Extent: 38 boxes, 30.16 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 collection consists of 70 panoramic negatives, 3207 copy prints, and corresponding negatives and interpositives, covering the years 1924-1948, that were created by the "Dick" Whittington Studio of Los Angeles, California. The images depict specific places, businesses, and commercial activity in both central and southern California, with the emphasis on Los Angeles County. The collection provides a broad overview of the commercial landscape of the area during the first half of the twentieth century.
    Language of Material: English


    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

    "Dick" Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    The Whittington Collection was partly purchased by, and partly donated to, the Huntington Library by Whittington’s son Edward Whittington in 1976.

    Processing Information

    The panoramic negatives underwent conservation treatment in 2005. They were humidified, flattened and housed in mylar by Ann Lindsey, project conservator. All the negatives were digitized during this process. Access to the panoramic negatives is available on CD-ROM through the office of the Curator of Photographs. Due to the length of the negatives, all images are scanned in sections. An image must be ordered in its entirety. Patrons are responsible for assuming the cost of digitally stitching the image together by the Huntington’s Media Lab.
    The 5 x 7 inch and 8 x 10 inch copy prints were created from original negatives. The prints were organized, labeled, and rehoused prior to 2006. In May 2006, Sue Luftschein created this finding aid using the organizational and numbering scheme established in the original rehousing. Since the collection came into the Huntington in 1976, many negatives have deteriorated and are housed in separate boxes; all negatives are in cold storage. Between 1993 and 1997, interpositives were made of all the 8 x 10 inch negatives which were showing signs of rapid deterioration.

    Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements

    Access to the panoramic negatives is available on CD-ROM through the office of the Curator of Photographs. Due to the length of the negatives, all images are scanned in sections.

    Historical Note

    The "Dick" Whittington Studio was the largest photography studio in the Los Angeles area from 1924 to 1987. Founded by Wayne Whittington, the Studio specialized in commercial photography, taking photographs for nearly every major business and organization in Los Angeles; in so doing, they documented the growth and commercial development of Los Angeles. The Studio’s clients included department stores, oil companies, real estate developers, food service companies, television and radio broadcast companies, automobile manufacturers and related industries, aircraft manufacturers, construction firms, and the entertainment industry. They also photographed the 1932 Olympics and the National Air Races of 1933 and 1936. Another notable client was the University of Southern California, which contracted with the Whittington Studios for coverage of athletic and other events.
    Wayne Whittington was born and raised in Los Angeles near Exposition Park. He attended Manual Arts High School and then the University of Southern California. After graduation, he served in the Signal Corps in World War I. He founded the Studio after leaving his first business venture, the Acme Tire Company.
    Whittington adopted the name of his studio from a historical figure who was the subject of a popular children’s story, "Dick Whittington and His Cat." Dick Whittington was an orphan who, in the late 14th century, traded his cat for funds to become a merchant, and then rose to Lord Mayor of London. The name inspired the Tudor architecture of the Studio, located at 3845 Wisconsin Street near the University of Southern California, and also the use of a cat as its logo.
    "Dick" Whittington Studio experienced its greatest growth during the 1930s, at which time it employed 27 people. During this period, it launched a news-picture division, taking photographs to supplement the wire services and the photographic departments of local newspapers. This led to work for Life magazine and other national publications, and to the establishment of an in-house stock photograph library. The Studio also created the Trav-l Lab, a self-contained processing lab on wheels with a thirty-foot extension ladder that allowed photographers to take elevated shots.
    World War II saw the loss of a number of personnel and a decline in business due to the rationing of silver and paper. The Studio made its facilities available to the United States government, and the Navy agreed to use them under contract, an arrangement that lasted for fifteen years. The Studio remained in active business until 1987.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 70 panoramic negatives, 3207 copy prints, and corresponding negatives and interpositives, covering the years 1924-1948, that were created by the "Dick" Whittington Studio of Los Angeles, California. The images depict specific places, businesses, and commercial activity in both central and southern California, with the emphasis on Los Angeles County. The collection provides a broad overview of the commercial landscape of the area during the first half of the twentieth century.
    The 70 panoramic negatives depict undeveloped and newly developed areas of Los Angeles, including Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, and Alhambra; views of Lido Isle in Newport; and Republic Studios in Studio City. There are also images of Los Angeles industries, including film and automotive, as well as specific locations, such as the Hollywood Bowl, and events, such as swimming events during the 1932 Olympics.
    The first part of the collection of copy prints depicts specific towns, businesses, street scenes and landscapes in central and southern California, specifically El Dorado, Inyo, and Nevada Counties, Lake Tahoe, Kern, Tulare, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Imperial Counties, Mexico, and Los Angeles County. The bulk of these images depict Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties. The Ventura County images concentrate on Port Hueneme. The Orange County images depict Fullerton, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Laguna Beach, Capistrano Beach, Balboa and Newport Beach, and Lido Isle. In Riverside County, the images depict Lake Elsinore, Perris, Corona, the Sherman Institute, Riverside, Norco, Palm Springs, San Jacinto, Hemet, and a number of hot springs. The San Bernardino images depict Twentynine Palms, Fontana, Chino, Ontario, San Bernardino, Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. In San Diego County, images depict Mount Helix, La Mesa, El Cajon, Alpine, Pine Valley, Descanso, Lakeside, Ramona, Escondido, Vista, Rancho San Luis Rey, Bonsall, Tahiti Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, La Jolla, Casa de Manana, the San Diego Fairgrounds, and Boulder.
    Los Angeles County images form the bulk of this section. Images of the San Gabriel Valley and nearby areas depict Flintridge, Altadena, Monrovia, Glendora, Azusa, East Los Angeles, Montebello, Whittier, the Pio Pico Adobe, Santa Fe Springs, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, El Monte, Baldwin Park, Covina, the Pomona Fairgrounds, San Marino, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Alhambra, El Sereno, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Arcadia, and Santa Anita. Images of Los Angeles beach communities include Long Beach, San Pedro and Fish Harbor, Palos Verdes and Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Playa del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica and coastal areas. The collection also depicts West Los Angeles, specifically Westwood and the University of California, Los Angeles, Bel Air, and Brentwood. Central, East and South Los Angeles are represented by images of Hollywood, Los Feliz, Culver City, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Inglewood, View Park, Hawthorne, Westchester, and Gardena. The San Fernando Valley images depict Woodland Hills, Encino, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, and Studio City. Also present in the collection are images of specific locations within Los Angeles proper (such as the Los Angeles riverbed, the Farmer's Market and Gilmore Stadium, Olvera Street, Los Angeles theaters, hospitals and businesses, City Hall, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Los Angeles Times Building under construction, Memorial Coliseum and the Olympic pool, and the Pan-Pacific Auditorium). Of particular note are the series of photographs that depict new housing tracts (Midwick View Estates, Rolling Knolls, Rolling Hills Estates, Beverly Wood), Wilshire Boulevard from Westlake to Western Avenues, the business district around La Brea Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, and the construction of the Federal Building and Post Office in central Los Angeles.
    The collection also contains images arranged by subject. These include photographs of advertising (signs, billboards and displays); radio and television communications; clubs; people; transportation (including Los Angeles Railway cars and Union Station); industries (food processing, fruits, water, rubber, steel, quarries, entertainment, and miscellaneous); construction (dams and aqueducts, housing); recreation; circuses; police and fire; cemeteries, charities and relief; religion; photography and photographers; World War II effort; medical; ranches; automobiles; trucks; buses; motorcycles; automobile dealerships and used car lots; racing cars; races; National Auto School; and aviation. Of particular note are the series of photographs depicting tire production by Goodyear; the interior of the Bethlehem Steel Plant; the construction of the Metropolitan aqueduct and Parker Dam; the construction of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam; assembly lines in Ford, Plymouth, Studebaker, and Willys-Knight plants; photographs of Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and other aviators; images of the Douglas Aircraft plant; Timm Aircraft plastic plane construction; and images of the Vultee production facilities and airplanes.
    All copy photographs have identification information and Whittington numbers on verso; some have client information. Some images exist in duplicate.


    The panoramic negatives (boxes 1 and 2) are arranged generally by subject and location. These images are available for viewing in the form of digital surrogates available on CD-ROM through the office of the Curator of Photographs.
    The collection of copy prints (boxes 3-11) is arranged in two parts: the first by location, the second by subject. The geographic section—images of towns, businesses, street scenes, and landscapes—begins with central California locations, then moves to southern California, culminating in Los Angeles County. This is followed by the subject section: Los Angeles businesses arranged by type followed by broad topical areas: advertising; radio and television communications; clubs; people; transportation; industries; construction; recreation; circuses; police and fire; cemeteries, charities and relief; religion; photography and photographers; World War II effort; medical; ranches; automobiles; trucks; buses; motorcycles; automobile dealerships and used car lots; racing cars; races; National Auto School; and aviation.

    Related Material

    The bulk of the "Dick" Whittington Studio archive is housed at the University of Southern California Regional History Center.
    For additional "Dick" Whittington Studio photographs in the Huntington Library, see also:

    Index Terms

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


    Cronin, A. J. (Archibald Joseph), 1896-1981 -- Photographs.
    Crosby, Bing, 1903-1977 -- Photographs.
    Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937 -- Photographs.
    Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964 -- Photographs.
    Hughes, Howard, 1905-1976 -- Photographs.
    Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Photographs.
    Shaw, Frank L., 1877-1958 -- Photographs.


    Bethlehem Steel Corporation -- Photographs.
    Casa de Manana (La Jolla, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Douglas Aircraft Company -- Photographs.
    Farmers Market (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Federal Building (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ford Motor Company -- Photographs.
    Gilmore Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company -- Photographs.
    Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles City Hall (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles Public Library -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles Railway -- Equipment and supplies -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles Times (Firm) -- Buildings -- Photographs.
    Pan-Pacific Auditorium (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Rancho San Luis Rey (San Diego County, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Republic Pictures Corporation -- Photographs.
    Santa Anita Park (Arcadia, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sherman Institute (Riverside, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Studebaker Corporation -- Factories -- Photographs.
    Timm Aircraft Corporation (Van Nuys, Calif.) -- Factories -- Photographs.
    Union Passenger Terminal (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    University of California, Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Vultee Aircraft, Inc.--Photographs.
    Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. -- Photographs.


    Alhambra (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Alpine (San Diego County, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Altadena (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Anaheim (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Arcadia (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Azusa (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Balboa Island (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Balboa Park (San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Baldwin Hills (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Baldwin Park (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Bel Air (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Bellflower (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Big Bear Lake (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Bonsall (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Brentwood (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Capistrano Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Chino (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Corona (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Covina (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Culver City (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Del Mar (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Descanso (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Downey (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    East Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Cajon (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Dorado County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Monte (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Sereno (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Encino (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Escondido (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fish Harbor (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Flintridge (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fontana (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fullerton (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Gardena (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Glendora (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hawthorne (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hemet (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hermosa Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.) -- Photographs.
    Imperial County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Inglewood (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Inyo County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Kern County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    La Mesa (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Laguna Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lake Arrowhead (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lake Elsinore (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Lakeside (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Leimert Park (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Long Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles River (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Feliz (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Manhattan Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Metropolitan Aqueduct (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mexico -- Photographs.
    Midwick View Estates (Monterey Park, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Monrovia (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Montebello (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Monterey Park (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mount Helix (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Nevada County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Newport Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Norco (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    North Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Norwalk (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ontario (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Orange County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Palm Springs (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Palos Verdes Estates (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Parker Dam (Ariz. and Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pasadena (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Perris (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pine Valley (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pio Pico State Historic Park (Whittier, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Playa del Rey (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Pomona Fairplex (Pomona, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Port Hueneme (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ramona (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Rancho Palos Verdes (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Redondo Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Riverside (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Riverside County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Rolling Hills Estates (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Bernardino (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Bernardino County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Diego County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Gabriel (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Jacinto (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Luis Obispo (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Marino (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Pedro (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Ana (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Monica (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sherman Oaks (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sierra Madre (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Solana Beach (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Studio City (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Tahiti Beach (San Diego County, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.) -- Photographs.
    Tulare County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Twentynine Palms (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ventura County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    View Park (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Vista (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Westwood (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Whittier (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Woodland Hills (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.


    Aeronautics -- California -- Photographs.
    Air pilots -- Photographs.
    Airplane factories -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Airplanes -- Photographs.
    Airports -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Aqueducts -- California -- Design and construction -- Photographs.
    Automobile dealers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Automobile industry and trade -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Automobile racing -- California -- Photographs.
    Automobiles -- Photographs.
    Billboards -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Buses -- Photographs.
    Business enterprises -- California -- Photographs.
    Camp meetings -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Cemeteries -- California -- Photographs.
    Charities -- California -- Photographs.
    Circus -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Cities and towns -- California -- Photographs.
    Clubs -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Dam construction -- Photographs.
    Display of merchandise -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Fire departments -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Fire departments -- California -- Pasadena -- Photographs.
    Food industry and trade -- California -- Photographs.
    Hospitals -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Housing -- California -- Los Angeles -- Design and construction -- Photographs.
    Motion picture industry -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Motorcycles -- Photographs.
    Olympic Games (10th : 1932 : Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Photographic studios -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Plymouth automobile -- Factories -- California -- Photographs.
    Police -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Quarries and quarrying -- California -- Photographs.
    Radio -- Equipment and supplies -- Photographs.
    Ranches -- California -- Photographs.
    Recreation -- California -- Photographs.
    Rubber industry and trade -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Signs and signboards -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Springs -- California -- Photographs.
    Steel industry and trade -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Television -- Equipment and supplies -- Photographs.
    Television stations -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Theaters -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Trucks -- Photographs.
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.

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