Oversize Portrait Files
Scope and Content
7000.3--Oversize Portrait and Subject files consist of over 3800 folders of photographic prints. The oversize portrait and subject files are gelatin silver prints and made larger than the conventional American standard of 8x10 inches. Many are as large as 11x17 inches, or maybe smaller but have backing larger than 8x10 inches. The dates of the prints range from the 1930s to the paper's closure in 1961. There are no negatives in this particular collection. Newspaper libraries weeded their morgues from time to time to remove images that were judged to have lost their news value.
If the print was used in the newspaper, it usually bears a pasted-down clipping of the published image with its caption and a stamped date on its back. Most prints include at least the name of the subject and a stamped date indicating when it was deposited in the morgue. While there are photographs taken by Examiner staff photographers scattered throughout the files, most of the prints are publicity photographs or from wire services such as the Associated Press or International News.
The prints in this collection formed the active working files for the editors, writers, and photographers of the newspaper. They were used repeatedly (and some, frequently) over an extended period and show signs of use, including bending, creasing, tearing, marking, and wear-and-tear. Many of the prints show permanent evidence of their use such as crop marks and retouching by highlighting or shading. These marks cannot be removed as they are an integral part of the record of a working newpaper morgue and have been preserved as part of the history of the morgue.
The Oversize Portrait files, contained in over 2500 folders, consist of both formal portraits and snapshots of people. Prominent Californians and Los Angelenos, as well as historical figures from the 1930s to the late 1950s, are represented. The Oversize Portrait files are arranged in the original order in which they were received from the Los Angeles Examiner, which is loosely alphabetical by surname. Many of the files contain alphabetical ranges of surnames, but those people who were better known, whose prints were frequently used, or who had a large quantity of prints, received their own files. However, the range of files and the individual files are not mutually exclusive, and it is recommended that the researcher look in the range even if the person has his or her own file(s). For photographs of women, researchers should look up alternate spellings, pseudonyms, and maiden and married names.
In addition, the Examiner also maintained a separate morgue called the Closet File, which included the famous people, and was not included in the donation to USC.
The Oversize Subject files, contained in over 1300 files, consist of snapshots of events, places, and things. Subjects heavily represented include atomic energy, aviation, baseball, hosrses, and Los Angeles. The subject files are mostly arranged in the alphabetical order in which they were received from the Los Angeles Examiner. Most of the files contain prints related to a specific subject, although there also are files consisting of a range of terms.
In addition to the Subject files, the Examiner also maintained a separate morgue called the Tower, which was not included in the donation to USC.
- 1903 - 1961
- Majority of material found within 1930 - 1959
Conditions Governing Access
Advance notice required for access.
From the Collection: 493.12 Linear Feet (368 flat storage boxes)
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States