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Finding Aid for the Robert C. Cleveland papers, 1918-1990
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert C. Cleveland papers
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1990
    Collection number: 1808
    Creator: Cleveland, Robert C.
    Extent: 38 document and journal boxes (19 linear feet) 4 oversize flat boxes 47 shoeboxes
    Abstract: Robert C. Cleveland, noted architectural, interior design, and commercial photographer based in Pacific Palisades, California. The collection contains items spanning his military and professional career including photographic prints, negatives, books, book manuscripts, and publications featuring his work.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. 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.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift Patricia Bloomfield and Russell R. Cleveland, 2008.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Julian Yoko Prentice and Nina Scholtz in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2009 and 2010.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia   funds.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert C. Cleveland papers (Collection 1808). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6362272 


    Robert Charles Cleveland was born on April 4, 1918 in Rochelle, Illinois to Orva Myrtle Cleveland and Ralph Charles Cleveland. He attended Beloit College and was enlisted to the First Motion Picture Unit during World War II. As photographer for the 97th Bombardment (heavy) group, he photographed a tour through Italy and the Middle East.
    From his home studio in Pacific Palisades, Cleveland began a career as an architectural and commercial photographer. He wrote one of the first books about architectural photography entitled Architectural photography of house: how to take good pictures of exteriors and interiors in 1953. He photographed architecture in and around Los Angeles for homeowners, architects, the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Perfect Home among other publications. His extensive commercial work included clients such as the Portland Cement Association, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Monsanto, and Fansteel.
    Cleveland died on December 12, 1991.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains Cleveland's personal papers, including World War II negatives and prints, elementary school documents, correspondence during World War II, and personal photographs. Photographic prints and negatives from his military career are also included in the collection with a series of photographs of the Middle East and Europe from 1944-1945.
    While the collection is comprised mostly of Cleveland's architectural and interior design photography in Southern California, he also has several series of photographs taken in Canada, Hawaii, and the South. Clients included architect A. Quincy Jones and actors James Cagney and Groucho Marx. Private homes, public buildings, and military sites are some of the most common subjects of his photography. Commercial clients included Fansteel, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Hollowform, and the Portland Cement Association. Some of his works involve the use of female models, many of which are portrayed provocatively. One publication in particular, The Chemical Peddler, graphically shows popular attitudes towards women in the 1960s.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The series is divided into seven sections:
    • I: Personal Papers
    • II: Photographic Prints
    • III: Magazines and Brochures
    • IV: Research and Travel Work
    • V: Photographic Negatives
    • VI: Writings
    • VII: Book Collection.
    For both the photographic prints and negatives, the numbering system follows the original system developed by Cleveland to keep track of projects and clients. Not all of his projects are included and there are gaps in both the photographic print and negative series.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Robert C. Cleveland---Archives.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic Prints
    Magazines and Brochures
    Photographic Negatives