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Harpist and audience, Olvera Street
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Photographers Photo Collection;
Schultheis, Herman
Made accessible through a grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
Date Created and/or Issued
Circa 1939
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.; Herman J. Schultheis was born in Aachen, Germany in 1900, and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1920s after obtaining a Ph.D. in mechanical and electrical engineering. He married Ethel Wisloh in 1936, and the pair moved to Los Angeles the following year. He worked in the film industry from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, most notably on the animated features Fantasia and Pinocchio. His detailed notebook, documenting the special effects for Fantasia, is the subject of a 14-minute short-subject included on the film's DVD. In 1949, he started employment with Librascope as a patent engineer. Schultheis was an avid amateur photographer who traveled the world with his cameras. It was on one of these photographic exhibitions in 1955 that he disappeared in the jungles of Guatemala. His remains were discovered 18 months later. The digitized portion of this collection represents the images Schultheis took of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities after he relocated to the area in 1937.
Don Francisco Avila, a wealthy cattle rancher and one-time Mayor of the pueblo of Los Angeles, built the Avila Adobe in 1818. The Avila Adobe, presently the oldest existing residence within the city limits, was one of the first town houses to share street frontage in the new Pueblo de Los Angeles. The original structure was nearly twice as long as it is now, and was L-shaped with a wing that extended nearly to the center of Olvera Street, which was the town's plaza. The walls of the adobe are 1 1/2 to 3 feet thick and are built from sun-baked adobe bricks. The original ceilings were fifteen-feet high and supported by beams of cottonwood. The largest room was the family room, which served as the general area for dining, entertaining and social gatherings. The living room was reserved for special occasions such as weddings, baptisms, or entertaining special guests. Floors were hard-compacted earth and swept several times a day to keep the surface smooth and free from loose soil. Eventually, varnished wooden planks would cover these floors. There was an office room that Don Francisco used to conduct business. Sleeping quarters for he and his wife, and another for his three children. In addition, a kitchen was used as a food preparation area and doubled as a bathing room. Another room served as a chapel, which contained a small altar. In the rear courtyard, a long porch faced the patio, where Don Francisco kept a garden as well as a vineyard that he tended to on a regular basis. In later years, a wooden veranda and steps were added to the front of the adobe. In 1953, the State of California acquired the Avila Adobe as part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, and has been opened to tours since 1976. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is California State Landmark No. 145. The Avila Adobe is located at East 10 Olvera Street.
Tourists and local residents listen to a harpist in a sombrero perform outside the Avila Adobe on Olvera Street.
1 photographic print :b&w ;11 x 15 cm.
Photographic prints
Herman J Schultheis Collection; Los Angeles Photographers Collection;
N-011-187 8x10
Avila Adobe (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Tourists--California--Los Angeles
Children--California--Los Angeles
Audiences--California--Los Angeles
Harpists--California--Los Angeles
Adobe houses--California--Los Angeles
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Olvera Street (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Schultheis Collection photographs

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