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History Department murals, Los Angeles Public Library
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Public Library Institutional Photo Collection;
Uman, George
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Central Library, located at 630 W. 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles, was designed by architects Bertram G. Goodhue and Carlton M. Winslow. Constructed between 1922-1926, it was designed to mimic the architecture of ancient Egypt, complete with a tiled mosaic pyramid tower and many beautiful murals throughout. Tragic fires in 1986 destroyed part of the building along with 20 percent of the library's collection, prompting a closure for 6 years while restoration took place. The renovation was completed in 1993, and the library reopened on October 3, 1993. The Los Angeles Public Library is the third largest public library in the United States in terms of books and periodical holdings, boasting over 6 million volumes. It was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1970 - Building #70000136.
Interior view of the History Department at Los Angeles Central Library, showing several tables throughout. Note the colorful ceiling beams and checkerboard floor. Along the perimeter of the department are the California History Murals painted by Albert Herter. Pictured are (left wall, l to r): "The Building of a Mission", "Jose Gaspar de Portola", "Juan Bautista de Anza", and "Fiesta at a Mission"; along the back wall (l to r): "Raising the flag at Monterey", and "Finding of Gold in '49"; and along the right wall (between the windows): "Relief ship at San Diego". Not pictured is "The Landing of Cabrillo at Catalina Island". These eight panels - significant events in California history - were painted in oil on canvas and were originally hung in the Hope Street tunnel entrance to the library, but were moved to what was then the History Reading Room because of water seepage and poor lighting in the tunnel. As a result of the cleaning of the murals after the library fires in 1986, one can clearly see in at least one of the murals how they were expanded to fit the space in their new location. The History Department was previously known as the Reference Room - which was the largest reading room of the library. Today, this room is the Children's Literature Department. Albert Herter, an artist and painter of international reputation, painted canvases depicting epic events in the history of California and was celebrated for his historical murals. Herter died in 1950 in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 79. Photograph dated: January 22, 1961.; For a similar view (same angle, with patrons), see #00084728.
1 photographic print :b&w ;21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Los Angeles Public Library Institutional Collection;
LAPL_IPC_b012_f3; A-001-901 4x5
Los Angeles Public Library.--History Dept
Los Angeles Public Library
Central Library (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Murals--California--Los Angeles
History materials--California--Los Angeles
Library buildings--California--Los Angeles
Libraries--California--Los Angeles
Libraries--United States--History
Art--California--Los Angeles
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments
Winslow, Carleton M.,1919-
Herter, Albert,1871-1950
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor,1869-1924
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)

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