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Arthur M. Ellis Collection of Photographic Negatives
photCL 188  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements

  • Overview of the Collection

    Repository: The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, CA
    91108
    Phone: 626-405-2180
    Email: jwatts@huntington.org
    Creator: Ellis, Arthur M. (Arthur McDonald), 1875-1932.
    Title: Arthur M. Ellis Collection of Photographic Negatives
    Dates: 1849-1923
    Dates: bulk 1880s-1890s
    Quantity: 28 linear feet, 67 boxes
    Abstract: The collection consists of 1366 photographic prints (mostly copy prints from 8 x 10 inch glass plate and film negatives), 1520 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives, glass positives, film negatives and lantern slides, 203 8 x 10 inch glass plate negatives, and 734 8 x10 inch film negatives depicting Southern California (mainly Los Angeles and nearby communities) and spanning the years ca. 1850 to the 1920s. The collection provides quite a comprehensive picture of the growth and development of Los Angeles at the turn of the twentieth century.
    Identification: photCL 188
    Language of Material: English

    Biographical Note

    Arthur McDonald Ellis (1875-1932) was born in Missouri. When he was two years old, his parents moved the family to California, where his grandfather had settled in the early 1850s. Ellis was educated in Pomona and at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduation he began a teaching career, but left the profession after a few years to study law. He established his practice in Los Angeles in 1903.
    Ellis studied history while at Berkeley, and his interest in the subject was life-long. He served as director of the Historical Society of Southern California, and was its president during 1927-1928. He was also a trustee of the Southwest Museum. He lectured statewide on California history and accumulated a large collection of photographs and slides depicting Southern California and the Southwest which he used in his presentations. He published a number of books, including The Indians of Los Angeles County (1926), a collection of letters of early pioneer Hugo Reid that provided firsthand accounts of the Native Americans of California and their treatment by the Mission padres.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 1366 photographic prints (mostly copy prints from 8 x 10 inch glass plate and film negatives), 1520 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives, glass positives, film negatives and lantern slides, 203 8 x 10 inch glass plate negatives, and 734 8 x10 inch film negatives depicting Southern California (mainly Los Angeles and nearby communities) and spanning the years ca. 1850 to the 1920s. The collection provides quite a comprehensive picture of the growth and development of Los Angeles at the turn of the twentieth century. There are no prints or other viewing surrogates for the smaller format glass negatives and lantern slides; viewing must be arranged through the Curator of Photographs. These smaller format items are mostly copy negatives (not originals) taken by Ellis of images in other collections, apparently for reference purposes or to document already existing collections. Ellis copied the photographic holdings of, among others, Bancroft, Behrendt, Tyler, Hill, Ingersoll, Forman, Rowan, Foxley, Guinn, Fryer, A.W. Francisco, McPherson, Charles Prudhomme and William Burton.
    The collection is particularly strong in images of central Los Angeles from the 1880s to the 1910s and Los Angeles County beach communities in the 1900s and 1910s. Also of note are images of sites and themes of historic or cultural significance, and portraits. In addition to images of central Los Angeles, the collection includes images of Los Angeles County beach communities; Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley; and Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties. The historic and cultural sites include photographs of missions and churches; commercial, municipal and residential buildings, including historic adobes; schools and parks; railroads, emigration, and stagecoach routes; Campo de Cahuenga; Busch Gardens in Pasadena; the Modjeska home in Santa Ana; the Lake Vineyard, Sunnyslope, and the Rowland properties in the San Gabriel Valley; and images of Native Americans and Native American culture. Portraits include those of California pioneers, prominent Angelenos and San Diegans, including J. Lancaster Brent, George Horatio Derby, Hillard Dorsey, the Ellis Family, Judge A.J. King and family, Vicente Lugo, Charles Prudhomme, Truman H. Rose, William Rubottom, Abel Stearns, 1st Worshipful Master of the California Masonic Lodge Levi Stowall, and the Workman family.
    Some of the 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives and lantern slides depict historic sites of Northern California, including mining camps of the California Gold Rush. There are also miscellaneous images pertaining to themes with no direct relationship to California or the American West. These images depict a number of unrelated themes including Freemasonry (a few documents, images depicting early Californian Masonic Temples and the Alexandria Temple in Virginia) and general United States history. The United States history images include copies of Abraham Lincoln portraits and the Lincoln home in Kentucky as well as early American figures including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
    Many of the 8 x 10 inch glass negatives are by Graham Photo Company. There are also a number of photographs by William H. Fletcher. Among the 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives are a significant number of images by William H. Godfrey depicting central Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. There are also photographs by F.H. Rogers, Parker, W.A. Vale and Carleton Watkins in addition to photographs of a number of Edward Vischer illustrations. Ellis also took photographs of land surveys by George Hansen, Edward Otho Cresap Ord and Frank Lecouvreur.
    Many of the copy prints exist in duplicate and all prints are annotated with location information and description on the reverse, when known. Some of the 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives and lantern slides depict the same image two or more times, but as they appeared in the albums or collections of different individuals. Details and enlargements are also present. Description and location information are noted on the envelope of the negatives when known.

    Arrangement

    Boxes 1-10 contain copy and original photographs; they have been described at the folder level. Every effort has been made to be as inclusive as possible in the description of the folder contents; some folders labeled “Miscellaneous,” span multiple subjects without any apparent relationship to one another.
    Boxes 11-47 contain 4 x 5 inch and smaller glass negatives, glass positives, film negatives and lantern slides. There are no prints or other viewing surrogates for this portion of the collection. Viewing must be arranged through the Curator of Photographs. These images have been organized by geographic region where possible, starting with Central Los Angeles and Los Angeles County and moving out into the surrounding California counties. Locations and subjects not related to California history follow. Miscellaneous and unidentified images, photographs by William M. Godfrey, and a very small number of 5 x 7 inch glass negatives are at the end of the collection.
    Boxes 48-67 contain 8 x 10 inch glass plate and film negatives corresponding to the collection's black and white prints.
    The collection has also been intellectually described by geographic region and subject matter. This arrangement follows the Container List. The geographical list is arranged by proximity to central Los Angeles. The Subject list is arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Brent, Joseph Lancaster, 1826-1905.
    Derby, George Horatio, 1823-1861.
    Dorsey, Hillard.
    Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790.
    King, A. J., Judge.
    Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865.
    Lugo, Vicente.
    Prudhomme, Charles J., 1854-1934.
    Rose, Truman H.
    Rowland, John, 1791-1873.
    Rubottom, William.
    Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871.
    Stowall, Levi.
    Washington, George, 1732-1799.
    Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878.
    Workman family.

    Subjects

    Amusement parks — California — Los Angeles County — Photographs.
    Beaches — California — Los Angeles County — Photographs.
    Cityscapes — California — Los Angeles — Photographs.
    Church buildings — California — Los Angeles — Photographs.
    Commercial buildings — California — Los Angeles — Photographs.
    Dwellings — California — Los Angeles — Photographs.
    Farms — California — San Gabriel Valley — Photographs.
    Freemasonry — Photographs.
    Gold mines and mining — California — Photographs.
    Historic buildings — California — Photographs.
    Indians of North America — Portraits.
    Missions — California — Photographs.
    Municipal buildings — California — Photographs.
    Orchards — California — San Gabriel Valley — Photographs.
    Parks — California — Los Angeles — Photographs.
    Railroads — Trains — Photographs.
    Ranches — California — San Gabriel Valley — Photographs.
    Schools — California — Photographs.
    Seaside resorts — California — Los Angeles County — Photographs.
    Stagecoaches — Photographs.
    United States — History — 18th century — Photographs.
    United States — History — 19th century — Photographs.
    Vineyards — California — San Gabriel Valley — Photographs.
    Wagon trains — Photographs.

    Places

    Busch Gardens (Pasadena, Calif.) — Photographs.
    Campo de Cahuenga (Universal City, Calif.) — Photographs.
    Los Angeles County (Calif.) — Photographs.
    Lincoln Homestead State Park, Kentucky — Photographs.
    Modjeska Ranch (Calif.) — Photographs.
    Orange County (Calif.) — Photographs.
    Pasadena (Calif.) — Photographs.
    San Bernardino County (Calif.) — Photographs.
    San Diego County (Calif.) — Photographs.
    San Gabriel Valley (Calif.) — Photographs.
    Sunny Slope Ranch (Calif.) — Photographs.
    Ventura County (Calif.) — Photographs.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographs.

    Contributors

    Fletcher, W. H. (William H.).
    Godfrey, W. M. (William Mollock), 1825-1900.
    Vale, W. A., b. 1847.
    Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916.
    Vischer, Edward.
    Hansen, George, 1824-1897.
    Ord, Edward Otho Cresap, 1818-1883.
    Lecouvreur, Frank, 1829-1901.
    Graham Photo Co.
    F.H. Rogers & Co.

    Restrictions on Access

    Access is granted to qualified researchers and by appointment.

    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

    photCL 188, Arthur M. Ellis Collection of Photographic Negatives, 1849-1923.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Huntington Library by Mrs. Arthur (Bessie) Ellis, 1945, 1946, 1950.

    Processing Information

    The collection was organized and partially rehoused in 1982 by Huntington Library staff. At that time, The Huntington Library made prints of approximately 816 of the 8 x 10” glass and film negatives in the collection. Catalog cards were also created for the photographs (numbers 1-1303) and are still available for consultation in the Huntington’s photo card catalog. In December 2005-March 2006, Jessica Gambling rehoused all the photographs. She also rehoused the unprinted glass plates and lantern slides (numbers 1304-2535), reorganizing them by location and subject. There are currently no prints or other viewing surrogates for this portion of the collection. Arrangements to view these images must be made through the Curator of Photographs.

    Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements

    No viewing surrogates are available for the collection's glass plate negatives and positives, lantern slides, and film negatives located in boxes 11-47. Arrangements for viewing these items must be made with the Curator of Photographs.