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Los Angeles Railway Corporation Collection of Photographs
photCL 58  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Material
  • Index Terms
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information

  • Overview of the Collection

    Repository: The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road,
    San Marino, CA
    Phone: 626-405-2180
    Email: jwatts@huntington.org
    Creator: Lewis, Edwin L.
    Title: Los Angeles Railway Corporation Collection of Photographs
    Dates: 1851-1939
    Quantity: 27 boxes, 22 linear feet
    Abstract: The collection consists of 1164 black and white photographs, 97 glass negatives, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, notes, a card file, and a ledger book related to the Los Angeles Railway, 1851-1939, collected and created by Edwin L. Lewis. The collection provides a broad pictorial overview of the development of the railway systems in Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as information on the physical development of the city itself.
    Collection no: photCL 58
    Language of Material: English

    Biographical Note

    The Los Angeles Railway Corporation (LARy) was the product of mergers and consolidations of numerous local and interurban railways in Los Angeles and adjacent communities. In 1910, Henry E. Huntington yielded his interests in the Pacific Electric Company to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, which subsequently controlled the interurban lines, and he incorporated the Los Angeles Railway Company and other railway interests to form the Los Angeles Railway Corporation, which operated the Los Angeles city lines.
    This collection was compiled by Edwin L. Lewis, who began working for the Los Angeles Cable Railway Company in 1888. Lewis became vice-president and manager of the Los Angeles Land Company and manager of the Los Angeles Railway Building in 1921. He retired in 1939. Lewis collected the material as background information for his proposed book on the railway systems of Los Angeles. The two volume history was never published, but exists in manuscript form and is housed in the Huntington's Manuscript Department.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 1164 black and white photographs, 97 glass negatives, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, notes, a card file, and a ledger book related to the Los Angeles Railway, 1851-1939, collected and created by Edwin L. Lewis. The collection provides a broad pictorial overview of the development of the railway systems in Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as information on the physical development of the city itself.
    The photographs and related clippings and correspondence depict and describe views of Los Angeles, primarily downtown, but also some of the neighborhoods that grew as a result of the construction of the street car system; methods and modes of transportation and transportation-related subjects, primarily with regard to the Los Angeles Railway; and individuals, including employees of the Railway and of the Los Angeles business community, and individuals who were in some way connected with the development of the railroad in Southern California. The collection is particularly strong in city scenes and panoramic views, primarily of downtown Los Angeles. These include “then and now” comparisons of various Los Angeles neighborhoods; business districts; hotels; city halls; school buildings; commercial and industrial buildings; post office buildings; churches; hospitals; holiday celebrations; and outlying areas (such as Catalina Island and San Diego). The transportation images include, but are not limited to, views of the railway; railway, street and cable cars; stations and station locations; and maps of rail lines. Also included are images of bicycles, carriages, and automobiles.
    The material related to individuals consists of biographical files and includes biographical sketches, notes on interviews conducted by Lewis, and/or correspondence, and describes LARy and other railroad employees, individuals who worked in industries connected with transportation, and business leaders in Southern California. The interviews are essentially oral histories, and provide a great deal of information on the development of both the railways in Los Angeles and the development of the city itself. The photographs included in the biographical files are portraits.
    The majority of the photographs are annotated on the reverse with location information, a short description, and/or identification of individuals. Some images include annotations on the front. Many of the photographs have clippings taped to the reverse. Some of the photographs exist in duplicate form; however, many of the duplicates are annotated with information not found on the original copy. Some photographs are missing.


    The original arrangement of the collection is numerical (see Container List below), based on Lewis's numbering scheme. Each photograph is inscribed with a number that corresponds to the numbers in Lewis’s original ledger (located in box 21). The collection remains in numerical order, and is described at the folder level. Lewis also created a card file (box 27) arranged by subject, which was used to describe and access specific photographs. Item-level access is available through this card file in consultation with the Curator of Photographs. Every attempt has been made to be as inclusive as possible in the description of the folder contents; however, some folders contain images that span two or more subjects.
    In addition to photographs, each folder may contain correspondence, clippings and/or notes, and their presence is noted. The biographical files contain primarily textual materials; if photographs are present, they are noted.
    The collection has also been intellectually described in four broad subject areas at the end of the Container List: Views of Los Angeles and vicinity; Transportation; Individuals; and Miscellaneous. Within the Views of Los Angeles, Transportation, and Miscellaneous subject areas, the arrangement is numerical. The individuals are listed alphabetically.
    The majority of the clippings and printed materials included with the photographs are preservation photocopies.

    Related Material

    See also Los Angeles Railway Corporation Collection, Manuscripts Department, The Huntington Library.

    Index Terms

    This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


    Beaudry, Prudent, d. 1893
    Bicknell, John D., d. 1911
    Child, Ozra W.
    Clark, Eli P., 1847-1931
    Crank, James Fillmore, d. 1935
    Downey, John Gately, ca. 1827-1894
    Eaton, Frederick, 1855-1934
    Garland, William May, b. 1866
    Griffith, Griffith Jenkins, Colonel, 1850-1919
    Harriman, Edward Henry, 1848-1909
    Haynes, John Randolph, b. 1853
    Hellman, Isaias W. (Isaias William), 1842-1920
    Hollenbeck, John Edward, 1829-1885
    Howland, Charles H., d. 1894
    Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927
    Huntington, Howard.
    Kuhrts, George J., 1869-1932
    Mellus, James J., d. 1935
    Pontius, David W.
    Randolph, Epes.
    Robinson, Henry Mauris, 1868-1937
    Sachse, Richard, b. 1881
    Sherman, Moses H., General, 1853-1932
    Weid, Ivar, 1837-1903
    Weid, Otto, d. 1934
    Widney, R. M. (Robert Maclay), 1838-1929
    Workman, Boyle, b. 1868
    Workman, Elijah H., 1835-1906
    Workman, William H., d. 1918


    Los Angeles Railway
    Pacific Electric Railway Company


    Business districts -- California -- Los Angeles
    Cable cars (Streetcars)
    Cityscapes -- California
    Church buildings -- California -- Los Angeles
    Commercial buildings -- California -- Los Angeles
    High Schools -- California -- Los Angeles
    Hotels -- California
    Panoramas -- California -- Los Angeles
    Railroad bridges
    Railroad stations -- California -- Los Angeles
    Railroads -- California
    Railroads -- Photographs
    Street-railroads -- Buildings and structures
    Street-railroads -- California -- Los Angeles
    Street-railroads -- Employees
    Street-railroads -- California -- Los Angeles -- Employees -- Biography
    Street-railroads -- Design and construction
    Street-railroads -- Maintenance and repair
    Vehicles -- California -- Los Angeles

    Document Types:

    Card files.

    Restrictions on Access

    Access is granted to qualified researchers and by appointment.
    Some of the information on individuals contains restricted information. Please contact the Curator of Photographs to arrange access to these files.

    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

    phot CL 58, Los Angeles Railway Corporation Photographs, 1851-1939.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Huntington Library by Edwin L. Lewis, June 1939. The collection includes a number of manuscripts and scrapbooks, which are in the custody of the Manuscripts Department.

    Processing Information

    The collection was rehoused in 2005 by Jessica Gambling, which included sleeving all photographs and preservation photocopying clippings. Duplicate photographs (some are contemporary to the collection, others are copy photographs) have new numbers based on the existing system (e.g., 75a, 75b, 75c, etc.). Original clippings are in boxes 21 and 22; preservation photocopies of these clippings have been inserted into the original locations within the collection. This finding aid was created in January 2006 by Sue Luftschein.