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Visual Collections

The LA Public Library visual collections include both local history collections and other historical collections:

The California Index is a vast and unique resource for information relating to the history of Los Angeles and California. In addition to citations, this database also includes scans of documents and ephemera from files at Central Library and many of the system's branches.

This collection can be searched. Images from this collection can be printed online.

The map collection is over one hundred years old, contains more than 100,000 items and represents a wide scope, including local, national and international cartography. The online archive focuses on maps depicting Los Angeles and the West.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

This selection of Los Angeles City and Street Directories spans from 1875-1987 and can be searched by name or address.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection can be printed online.

A collection of over 200 vibrantly-colored labels, designed for citrus growers throughout Southern California, mainly during the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the labels illustrate specific locations in the region, and are an excellent example of commercial graphic design from the period, as well as documenting the industry itself.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

Images of full menus are primarily from California restaurants, but the collection also includes menus from other cities, steamships, airlines, and banquets.

This collection can be searched. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

This online archive features photos from the famed Turnabout Theatre, a local revue operated by the Yale Puppeteers that ran from 1941 to 1956. Included are images of notables such as Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, and Aimee Semple McPherson, along with Elsa Lanchester who was a regular cast member at the Turnabout.

This collection can be searched. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

Over 6,200 hand-colored, finely detailed fashion illustrations produced between 1780 and 1880 for British and American fashion magazines. The plates depict fashionable styles of dress for men, women and children, and constitute valuable source material on the history of dress during this period in history.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

Over 1,300 bookplates commissioned by people who wished to identify the books in their personal libraries through a unique work of art. The collection includes a wide variety of graphic and illustrative styles, both color and black and white, ranging from the formal to the whimsical.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

Selected travel posters of exotic destinations are from the collection housed in the International Languages Department and Rare Books at Central Library. The artwork finely demonstrates the sensibilities of 1920s and 1930s Art Deco and early Futurism.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

From the special collections of the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch Library, this collection spans from the earliest years of the motion picture industry to the World War II era.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

The LAPL Photo Collection emphasizes the history of Los Angeles, Southern California, and California. The online archive includes images from the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Valley Times newspapers, along with photos from the Security Pacific National Bank Collection, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the WPA project, as well as from photographers including Ansel Adams, Herman Schultheis, Gary Leonard, and William Reagh.

This collection can be searched. Images from this collection are available for reproduction.

Not a Library collection, this archive is hosted by LAPL for El Pueblo. El Pueblo Monument has over ten thousand photographs in its collection, divided into three hundred separate categories.

This collection can be searched. Questions about reproductions should be directed to El Pueblo Monument.

Not a Library collection, this archive is hosted by LAPL for DWP. The majority of these photographs reflect the early history of the Department of Water and Power, such as the establishment of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the work of William Mulholland.

This collection can be searched. Questions about reproductions shoud be directed to DWP.

Starting with the "Songs in the Key of L.A." project, this is a small collection of covers from the Library's large sheet music collection.

This collection can be searched or browsed. Images from this collection are not available for reproduction.

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