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Treasures of Los Angeles

The Annenberg Gallery displays some of the extraordinary materials collected by the Los Angeles Public Library since its founding in 1872. The inaugural exhibit, "Treasures of Los Angeles," features items from the Hollywood collection, including vintage film posters, publicity photographs ("stills"), postcards and other promotional items such as photo advertisements ("lobby cards") from Mexican films of the 1950s and 1960s. The Hollywood collection is from the Frances Howard Goldwyn — Hollywood Regional Branch Library and it is our featured collection.

Featured Collection: Hollywood

After fire destroyed the Hollywood Regional Branch in 1982, an outpouring of generosity from local residents and the film and television industry helped create the Hollywood Special Collection at the new Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch. The materials in the exhibit represent the history of an industry that has come to define a community. Posters, movie stills, postcards, and other materials provide a glimpse of a world where stars and glamour were commonplace.

Special Collections

While the research and popular interest materials of the library are well known, there hidden "treasures" of the library provide a fascinating look at the history of Los Angeles. From the photos that document our diverse heritage, to the colorful menus and theatre programs of yesteryear, the library has collected items of popular culture, detailed maps of the city's expansion, and mementos of our past.

Autograph Collection, Rare Books Department

There are over 1,700 autographs in this collection, which was started by former City Librarian Charles Lummis. Many are original signatures on special stationery Lummis designed and used to solicit autographs from important personages of the era. Several artists included small drawings while others included poetry, comments on Los Angeles, or letters that have social or historic interest.

Bookplate Collection, Rare Books Department

This collection includes 1,300 bookplates commissioned by people or institutions that wished to identify the books in their libraries with a unique piece of art.

California Print Collection, Rare Books Department

This collection numbers 450 images, including wood engravings, from the mid-20th century.

Citrus Label Collection, Rare Books Department

California's agricultural history is celebrated in these fruit and vegetable crate labels used by growers and shippers to advertise their companies. Many of these images have been widely reproduced.

Fashion Plate Collection, Rare Books Department

The Library has more than 6,700 of these hand-colored fashion plates which illustrated British and American magazines from the 1790's to the 1880's.

Gladys English Collection, Children's Literature Department

Over 200 original illustrations for children's books, many by award-winning illustrators, have been gathered over the years as a tribute to Gladys English, the former Coordinator of Children's Services for the Los Angeles Public Library. Most of the works were completed before 1960.

Hollywood Collection, Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch

These items are from the special collection of the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. This branch has an incredible collection of Hollywood history. Since for many people Los Angeles is Hollywood, this is a vital part of our City’s history.

Japanese Print Collection, Rare Books Department

The Rare Books Department has 287 Japanese prints, mostly originals, including works by Hiroshige and Utamaro, among others.

Map Collection, History and Genealogy Department

The Map Collection at the Central Library is one of the largest of any American public library, with 80,000 maps, 2,000 atlases, 1000 gazetteers and over 1000 books supporting the study of maps and mapping.

Menu Collection, Rare Books Department

The Library has a collection of several thousand menus arranged by date and by restaurant. Although the focus is on California restaurants, menus from around the world have been donated by travelers interested in the collection.

Photograph Collection, History and Genealogy Department

The Los Angeles photo archives contain over 2.5 million photographs. More than 40,000 of these are available digitally on our Web site. These photos provide a fascinating look at local history—the growth of the City and the diversity of its residents.

Sheet Music Collection, Art, Music, and Recreation Department

The Art, Music, and Recreation Department has an extensive music collection, which includes over 38,000 pieces of sheet music. The collection includes songs published since the early 1900’s, many with attractively illustrated period covers.

Theater Collection, Literature and Fiction Department

The Literature and Fiction Department of the Central Library has an extraordinary collection of local theater history including programs and posters for Los Angeles productions through the years.