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Historical Society of Southern California Collection -- Charles C. Puck Collection of Negatives and Photographs
photCL 400 volume 2 and volume 3  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Material
  • Index 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: Puck, Charles C.
    Title: Historical Society of Southern California Collection -- Charles C. Puck Collection of Negatives and Photographs
    Dates: 1864-1963
    Dates: (bulk 1920s-1950s)
    Quantity: 11,400 photographs in 42 boxes (30.29 linear feet)
    Abstract: The Puck Collection consists of photographs both taken and collected by Charles C. Puck. They depict buildings, monuments, civic happenings, modes of transportation, flora and fauna, and anything else that captured his particular interests. Puck compiled several scrapbooks on topics such as adobes and buildings of Los Angeles, illustrating them with his photographs and annotating them with historical anecdotes and personal recollections. Puck also collected the work of noted Los Angeles photographers like Charles C. Pierce and James B. Blanchard to supplement his own archive. At the time of his gift to the Historical Society of Southern California, Puck had amassed a large array of images documenting the changing face of Los Angeles and its environs.
    Collection no: photCL 400 volume 2 and volume 3
    Language of Material: English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    There is little information on Charles Puck beyond the basic facts that he resided in Los Angeles for many years and worked in the city as a postal employee. Puck used his leisure hours to indulge his twin passions for regional history and photography. From 1914 until 1958, Puck set out with his camera to record many facets of life in Southern California. Puck occasionally supplied photographs to commercial photographer Charles C. Pierce, who ran a business providing stock pictures of Southern California to a variety of organizations and publishers. Consequently, Puck’s photographs have often been incorrectly attributed to Pierce in various publications and periodicals of the era.
    A devoted member of the Historical Society of Southern California, Puck began giving his 11,400 photographs and negatives to that institution in 1948. Photographs trickled in for the next decade, with a final donation of three large cartons from Puck’s estate in 1969.
    In the forward of a 1926 scrapbook, Charles Puck expressed the driving motivation behind his work: “Noting how rapidly the old landmarks were disappearing, the writer set forth with camera to record these last remnants of a time that will never again come and it is hoped that these pictures…will be an educational contribution.”
    The Puck Collection comprises one portion of the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC) Collection, which was donated to the Huntington Library in 1992. The HSSC Collection as a whole contains approximately 15,000 photographs and negatives covering the period circa 1870 to circa 1980, and almost exclusively depicts Southern California. As such, it is an important visual record of the growth and history of the region.

    Scope and Contents

    Puck took (and collected) photographs of buildings, monuments, civic happenings, modes of transportation, flora and fauna, and anything else that captured his particular interests. He had a penchant for construction, demolition, and disaster of both the natural and human variety, making systematic photographic surveys of anything that fell within these broad categories. He compiled several scrapbooks on topics such as adobes and buildings of Los Angeles, illustrating them with his photographs and annotating them with historical anecdotes and personal recollections. Puck also collected the work of noted Los Angeles photographers like Charles C. Pierce and James B. Blanchard to supplement his own archive; on many of these pictures he wrote comments on the verso. At the time of his gift to the Historical Society of Southern California, Puck had amassed a large array of images documenting the changing face of Los Angeles and its environs.
    An avid tourist and automobile adventurer, Puck traveled throughout California to historical points of interest. He motored around the sites of the Gold Rush, and frequently ventured into the Sierra Nevada Mountains on camping trips. Aside from pictures of Los Angeles, Puck took shots in many other counties of the state including Orange County, San Diego County, Imperial County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Kern County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, Inyo County, and the counties in the eastern and central portions of California.
    Puck also traveled by car to places outside California, mostly in the Southwestern states and to Mexico. Pictures of trips taken between 1918 and 1953 to such places as Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Nevada and Mexico are included in the collection, primarily in the form of negatives.

    Arrangement

    The Puck Collection is divided into two parts. Volume 2 contains approximately 10,000 photographs and negatives made by Puck; volume 3 contains approximately 1400 photographs collected by Puck and taken by other photographers. The material in both volumes is arranged geographically. Los Angeles city and county, Puck’s primary interest and the bulk of the collection, begins each series, followed by neighboring counties, and then by regions in the northern part of the state and outside California. The larger cities and counties, Los Angeles for instance, also have a number of subject divisions such as parks, buildings, etc.
    The Historical Society separated by region the photographs from Puck’s numerous automobile trips. Huntington volunteers endeavored to note the route of various trips and brought together images from specific trips where possible. In most instances, however, photographs of Puck’s trips are scattered throughout the geographical headings.
    The architecture of California and the Southwest (particularly the early adobe structures) fascinated Puck and a separate list titled "C.C. Puck Photographs of Adobes and Ranchos in the United States and Mexico" can be found at the end of the container list for volume 2. Additionally, there are many photographs of California missions and mission architecture. There is also a list of photographs depicting Charles Puck found in the collection.
    Puck’s albums containing both text and photographs on different historical topics are at the end of volume 2 (boxes 31-37). They contain photographs both taken and collected by Puck. The original albums are extremely fragile and photocopies are available for research.

    Related Material

    For a complete history of the Historical Society of Southern California see Jane Apostol, The Historical Society of Southern California: A Centennial History . Los Angeles: The Historical Society of Southern California, 1991.
    See also Tom Andrews, "The Historical Society of Southern California Photo Archive," S outhern California Quarterly (Spring 1993), 51-63.

    Index Terms

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

    People:

    Blanchard, James B., photographer.
    Pierce, C. C. (Charles C.) 1861-1946.

    Organizations:

    Union Passenger Terminal (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    United States Postal Service -- Buildings -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Olympic Games (10th : 1932 : Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    California Pacific International Exposition (1935-1936 : San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Union Stockyard Company -- Photographs.
    Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-1940 : San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Panama-California Exposition (1915 : San Diego, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs.

    Places:

    Alameda County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Amador County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Arizona -- Photographs.
    Bunker Hill (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Calaveras County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Chávez Ravine (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Chinatown (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Colorado -- Photographs.
    Contra Costa County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.) -- Photographs.
    El Dorado County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fort Hill (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Fresno County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Idaho -- Photographs.
    Imperial County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Inyo County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Kern County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles County (Calif.) -- History -- Photographs.
    Los Angeles County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Madera County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mariposa County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mexico -- Photographs.
    Mexico -- Boundaries -- United States -- Photographs.
    Montana -- Photographs.
    Monterey County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Nevada -- Photographs.
    Nevada County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    New Mexico -- Photographs.
    Orange County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Oregon -- Photographs.
    Owens Valley (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Palm Springs (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Placer County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Riverside County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sacramento County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Benito County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Bernardino County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Diego County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Luis Obispo County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Pedro (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Clara County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Cruz County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sawtelle (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Sonoma County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Texas -- Photographs.
    Trinity County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Tuolumne County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    United States -- Boundaries -- Mexico -- Photographs.
    Utah -- Photographs.
    Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Ventura County (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Washington (State) -- Photographs.
    Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Wyoming -- Photographs.
    Yosemite National Park (Calif.) -- Photographs.

    Subjects:

    Adobe houses -- California -- Photographs.
    Building construction -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Circus -- California -- Los Angeles County -- Photographs.
    City halls -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Disasters -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Earthquakes -- California -- Photographs.
    Elementary schools -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Express highways -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Fires -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Floods -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Follies (Architecture) -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    High schools -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Kitsch -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Neighborhoods -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Parks -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Postal service -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Railroads -- California -- Photographs.
    Railroads, Cable -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Ranches -- California -- Photographs.
    Roadside architecture -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Social and civic facilities -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Street-railroads -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Streets -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Universities and colleges -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Wrecking -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.

    Document Types:

    Black-and-white negatives.
    Photographs.
    Photograph albums.

    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 400 volume 2 and volume 3, HSSC-Puck Collection.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by the Historical Society of Southern California, 1992.

    Processing Information

    In the mid-1990s, Huntington volunteers recreated the collection by identifying Puck's photographs (both those taken and collected) and separating them from the remainder of the approximately 15,000 images donated by the Historical Society. They arranged the images by geographic location, numbered, and rehoused them. In 1999, Jennifer Watts created the bulk of this finding aid based, in part, on the original inventory created by the volunteers. In 2006, Sue Luftschein updated the finding aid with information about the photographs Puck collected.

    Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements

    The collection contains eight photograph albums created by Puck. These are extremely fragile and are available for researchers only through photocopied surrogates.