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Guide to the San Diego Union-Tribune Photograph Collection
C2  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Chronology
  • Project Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: San Diego Union-Tribune photograph collection
    Dates: 1910-1975
    Bulk Dates: 1915-1957
    Collection number: C2
    Creator: San Diego union-tribune
    Collection Size: 100 linear ft. ca. 150,000 items (glass and film negatives and photographic prints): b&w and color; 5 x 7 in. or smaller.
    Repository: San Diego Historical Society
    San Diego, California 92138
    Abstract: The collection chiefly consists of photographic negatives, photographs, and news clippings of San Diego news events taken by staff photographers of San Diego Union-Tribune and its predecessors, San Diego Union, San Diego Sun, San Diego Evening Tribune, and San Diego Tribune-Sun, which were daily newspapers of San Diego, California, 1910-1974.
    Physical location: San Diego Historical Society Research Library, Booth Historical Photograph Archives, 1649 El Prado, Casa de Balboa Building, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Access to fragile or damaged items is restricted, except by permission of the director of the Booth Historical Photograph Archives at the San Diego Historical Society.

    Publication Rights

    Permission for publication is given by the San Diego Historical Society both for copyrighted materials and materials physically owned by the Society but not copyrighted. All requests for publication must be submitted in writing. Permission for use is not granted until all fees are paid.

    Preferred Citation

    San Diego Union-Tribune photograph collection, C2, San Diego Historical Society

    Acquisition Information

    In 1957, Larry Booth, photographer and photograph curator for Union Title Co., acquired thousands of negatives slated for destruction by the San Diego Union. In 1979, these were transferred to the San Diego Historical Society. A second gift of negatives spanning 1945 to 1981 were donated to the San Diego Historical Society by the San Diego Union-Tribune Publishing Company in 1984. Together, these accessions form one collection.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The San Diego Union began publishing in 1868 when San Diego's population was barely over 2,000 citizens. Industrialist John D. Spreckels purchased the newspaper in 1890. The San Diego Evening Tribune was founded in 1895. In 1901, Spreckels also purchased the Evening Tribune. In 1928, Colonel Ira C. Copley of the Copley newspaper chain purchased both the Union and the Evening Tribune. The two newspapers operated separately until 1992 when they merged to form the San Diego Union-Tribune. The San Diego Sun was founded by editor Horace Stevens in 1881 and purchased by E.W. Scripps of the Scripps-Howard chain in 1892. The newspaper published until 1939 when it was merged with the San Diego Evening Tribune. Between 1939 and 1950 the paper was entitled the San Diego Tribune-Sun. The newspaper reverted back to the name San Diego Evening Tribune in 1950.

    Chronology

    1868 San Diego Union began publishing.
    1881 Editor Horace Stevens founded the San Diego Sun.
    1890 Industrialist John D. Spreckles purchased the San Diego Union.
    1892 E.W. Scripps of the Scripps-Howard chain purchased the San Diego Sun.
    1895 The San Diego Evening Tribune was founded.
    1928 Col. Ira C. Copley of the Copley newspaper chain purchased the Union and the Evening Tribune.
    1939-1950 The San Diego Sun merged with the San Diego Evening Tribune and was entitled San Diego Tribune-Sun.
    1950 The newspaper reverted back to the name San Diego Evening Tribune.
    1992 The San Diego Union and the San Diego Evening Tribune merged to form the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Project Information

    Funding Information

    The San Diego Newspaper Photograph Cataloging Project was made possible by a generous two year matching grant provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to the San Diego Historical Society. The grant provided funding for employee salaries and supplies to describe and preserve more than 150,000 negatives in the San Diego Union-Tribune photograph collection dating from 1910-1975 (bulk 1915-1957). This represents a portion of total collection which spans through 1981.

    Processing Information

    From July 2003 through July 2005, a team of project archivists worked on-site at Historical Society to accomplish these goals. The Project Director was John Panter. Project Archivists were: Therese James, July 2003-June 2004; Jessica Silver, July 2004-June 2005. Project Assistants included Rebecca Gerber, Robert Ross, Miranda Nighbor and Emily Posedel. Project staff were assisted by Project Consultant Gabriela A. Montoya, an intern, and more than twenty volunteers from the San Diego community.
    Images were first cataloged in the Historical Society's in-house catalog using SydneyPLUS software. Selected descriptive information was then exported to the Online Archive of California to form this finding aid.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The San Diego Historical Society's holdings of Union-Tribune newspaper photographs consist almost entirely of original photographic negatives of San Diego news events taken by staff photographers between approximately 1910 and 1981.
    This guide addresses images taken primarily between 1915 and 1957. These files contain more than 150,000 images submitted by photographers from their assignments, and are not limited to images actually published. Physical formats present include chiefly 4x5 inch glass plates, 4x5 inch film negatives, 120 film, and 35mm film, and photographic prints. The vast majority of negatives are black and white. Copy negatives are also present throughout the collection, presumably made from photographic prints loaned to the newspaper or for internal duplication purposes. Also included are photographic assignment sheets and newspaper clippings.
    The collection is organized into five series: Series 1, Newspaper subjects, 1910-1947 (bulk, 1915-1942); Series 2, Newspaper subjects, 1912-1975 (bulk, 1950-1957); Series 3, Activities and individuals, 1910-1951 (bulk, 1922-1948); Series 4, Activities and individuals, 1940-1960 (bulk, 1946-1957); Series 5, Photographic prints, ca. 1915-1957.
    Subjects present in the collection document the history of San Diego and in turn, California and the nation. Images depict local and national politics including relations with Mexico, air, rail and automobile transportation, housing and urban development, the tuna fishing industry and other business enterprises, and tourist attractions including the San Diego Zoo and San Diego's 1915 and 1935 Expositions. Also extensively documented are San Diego County community events, locations, residences and other buildings, social and religious organizations and clubs, recreational and professional sports, municipal services, education and health services, the arts, and crime. Throughout the collection are images of prominent residents and visiting dignitaries. Portraits predominate throughout all series. The extent of the images encompassed by the collection allows in-depth examination into the rapidly changing cultural, political and social mores of the region, state and nation.

    Arrangement

    The San Diego Historical Society holdings of the Union-Tribune photograph archive described by this guide are arranged in five parts, as received by the library. Series 1-4 consist of photographic negatives, and Series 5 consists of photographic prints.
    Series 1-4 each represent a different organizational approach employed by the newspaper when these were the current, working photographic negative files. Series 1-4 break down along roughly chronological lines, with Series 1 and 3 containing the earliest images, and Series 2 and 4, the latest. There is some date overlap amongst the four series. The internal arrangement of each series is generally alphabetical by subject or by personal surname rather than chronological.
    A unique local control number corresponds to each negative and identifies the series to which it belongs:
    • Series 1. UT1 - UT8238, UT8241
    • Series 2. UT84:21715 - UT84:35539
    • Series 3. UT8326 - UT25683
    • Series 4. UT84:1 - UT84:21714
    • Series 5. N/A

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Air pilots--California--San Diego.
    Aircraft accidents--California--San Diego.
    Airplanes--California--San Diego.
    Art exhibitions--California--San Diego.
    Athletes--California--San Diego.
    Balboa Park (San Diego, Calif.).
    Buildings--California--San Diego.
    Business enterprises--California--San Diego.
    California Pacific International Exposition (1935-1936 : San Diego, Calif.).
    Churches--California--San Diego.
    Crime and criminals--California--San Diego.
    Charitable organizations--California--San Diego.
    Clubs--California--San Diego.
    Fraternal organizations--California--San Diego.
    Health care--California--San Diego.
    Health care facilities--California--San Diego.
    Houses--California--San Diego.
    Indians of North America California San Diego County.
    Military facilities--California--San Diego.
    Military personnel--California--San Diego.
    Politics and government--California--San Diego.
    Panama-California International Exposition (1915 : San Diego, Calif.).
    San Diego County (Calif.).
    San Diego sun.
    San Diego union-tribune.
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
    Union-Tribune Publishing Company.
    Sports--California--San Diego.
    Tijuana (Baja California, Mexico).
    Transportation--California--San Diego.
    United States. Navy.
    Universities and colleges--California--San Diego.
    Warships.
    Zoological Society of San Diego.

    Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching

    Within this finding aid, descriptive approaches to each part of the collection vary according to the arrangement of that part and the descriptive resources available.

    Series 1: Subjects, 1910-1947. 1915-1942 (bulk)

    Descriptions are paragraphs about 21 groups of negatives by subject. Descriptions include: the subject category name, an estimate of the number of images present, the years present in it, and a variable-length summary of the types of images or subject content present. Selected highlights and subjects of higher potential interest are noted. In these summaries a few lines of text may represent several hundred negatives. This series contains numerous images of people and activities and overlaps in content and dates with Series 3, Individuals and activities.
    In general, subjects were assigned by the Union-Tribune. No standardized vocabulary or subject terms were employed. Descriptions are based upon original negative sleeve annotations, often supplemented by observations made by staff. In some cases, some research as to context was carried out. Spelling errors were generally corrected. Original lists, index cards, photographic assignment sheets, newspaper clippings and photographic prints that may have originally accompanied this series are no longer extant.
    This series is not physically organized by subject, and the existence of a local negative numbering system long in use prevented its reorganization. Within the existing organization, negatives assigned to a given subject have too many associated local item numbers for the space of this finding aid. Information about local item numbers is instead made available through the Research Library's on-site public access catalog.

    Search recommendations

    By subject:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised.
    By name:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested.
    By date or other information:
    Library staff can provide assistance for researchers wanting to know more detailed information about image or subject content. Researchers may also visit the Historical Society to search the on-site public access catalog.

    Series 2: Subjects, 1912-1974. 1950-1957 (bulk)

    Descriptions are provided for 25 subject groupings based on original subjects assigned by Union-Tribune. Staff modified original subjects infrequently to reduce subject duplication or facilitate research. Two to three levels of description are present for most subject groupings. The top level is the most is the most general description, summarizing large numbers of negatives. Most subjects are then described at more detailed levels.
    For all subject groupings, a summary description provides an overview of the contents of that section. This description includes: the subject category name, the range of local item numbers that represent it, an estimate of the number of images present, the years present in it, and a variable-length summary of the types of images or subject content present. Selected highlights and subjects of higher potential interest are noted. In these summaries a few lines of text may represent several hundred or several thousand negatives.
    More detailed level descriptions frequently include descriptions of events or activities, place names, and names of residents as well as figures of local, state and national prominence. Not all names provided by the original negative sleeve annotations are noted. However, original sleeves frequently containing photographic prints have been retained to serve as an index and source of captions and other detailed information. They are available for use at the Research Library.

    Search Recommendations

    By subject:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised.
    By name:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested.
    By date or other information:
    Library staff can provide assistance for researchers wanting to know more detailed information about image or subject content. Researchers may also visit the Historical Society to search the on-site public access catalog.

    Series 3: Individuals and activities, 1910-1951 (1922-1948, bulk), and Series 4: Individuals and activities, 1940-1960 (1946-1957, bulk)

    Descriptions are for selected negatives organized alphabetically into groups: A-E; F-J; K-O; P-T; U-Z. Groups correspond to the surnames of people pictured and are based upon the original organization and indexing system of the Union-Tribune. Information provided includes: surname and first name of a selected person, year or years pictured, and the approximate number of images in entire group.
    Staff selected fewer than five percent of negatives for inclusion in these group descriptions. Of the thousands of San Diego residents, visitors, and local events pictured, only persons representing higher potential historical interest or those with a relatively large number of negatives were noted. The totality of names is recorded in the Research Library's public access catalog. Names recorded there are based on original annotations found on negative sleeves.
    For Series 3, place names, events pictured, and dates frequently are missing, inaccurate, or provided as "circa" dates. A series of index cards created by Historical Society staff or received from the Union-Tribune provides additional references to persons pictured throughout the series. For Series 4, annotations are more extensive and reliable. Additionally, photographic assignments sheets, instructions to the photographer for a given shoot, frequently provide additional historical and cultural context about place names, events, and exact dates. These are organized by the local item number and are available for research.
    For both series, newspaper clippings and photographic prints that accompanied negatives are organized separately and arranged by local item number. Prints sometimes corresponding to negatives are found in Series 5.

    Search Recommendations

    By name:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested.
    For additional names and other details:
    Library staff can provide assistance for researchers seeking surnames not recorded in this finding aid. Researchers may also visit the Historical Society to search the on-site public access catalog.

    Series 5: Photographic prints (ca. 1915-1957)

    Black and white photographic prints of various sizes found throughout Series 2, 3 and 4 have been placed in this series. A given print sometimes corresponds to an extant negative. When it does not, the negatives most likely were not received with the collection.
    Prints in Series 2 are housed within original negatives sleeves and are available for research. No container list is available.
    Prints in Series 3 and 4, frequently edited and marked by newspaper production staff, are arranged in loose alphabetical order by surname of person pictured. Descriptions are available in an alphabetical container list that provides only surname, first name, and print binder number. Dates, local item numbers (sometimes corresponding to extant negatives) and other information are sometimes noted on the verso of a given image. Print binders can be browsed on-site.
    Staff devoted limited resources to this series because it fell outside the scope of the grant responsible for funding this cataloging project.

    Search Recommendations

    By name:
    Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested.
    By date or other information:
    Additional information is available to on-site researchers interested in browsing the print binders.

    Related Material

    Harry Bishop Collection (C15), Booth Historical Photograph Archives, San Diego Historical Society; and San Diego Union, San Diego Union-Tribune and San Diego Sun subject files, Research Library, San Diego Historical Society; a microfiche index to the San Diego Union from 1868-1902 and 1930-1975, San Diego Public Library.