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Gladys A. papers

Identifier: 7062

Content Description

The Gladys A. papers consist principally of diaries detailing Gladys's daily activities and life as a prostitute in Los Angeles from January 1949, when she arrived from Michigan, through April 1952. The collection also contains photographs of Gladys and others in her life, correspondence, and personal items including high school graduation memorabilia, receipts, and other notes. These materials trace Gladys' initial experience of moving to and living in Los Angeles as an independent woman in her early twenties. They reveal characteristics of the day-to-day places, activities, and troubles that she navigated and detail the numerous personal and intimate relationships Gladys cultivated as a casual sex worker. Her documented life gives insight into the complex realities of race, gender, and socioeconomic relationships of Los Angeles in the early 1950s.


  • 1944-06-09 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Biographical note

Gladys A. came to Los Angeles in 1949 from Saginaw, Michigan with very little money. To support herself she immediately began engaging in sexual relationships with men she met in exchange for money, meals, gifts, and amusements. Gladys A. also occasionally worked in diners and bars in and around downtown. She kept a diary of her daily activities detailing her experiences as a young woman and a sex worker in Los Angeles in the 1950s.


1.31 Linear Feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



The Gladys A. papers contain diaries of Gladys A., a young woman who participated in sex work in and around Downtown Los Angeles. The diaries span from the day she arrived in LA in January of 1949 through 1953, detailing the daily experiences of her first five years in the city. The collection also includes photographs of Gladys with unidentified individuals, correspondence from her family in Michigan, memorabilia from her Catholic high school, and other miscellaneous personal items.


The Gladys A. papers are organized into three series: 1. Writings, 2. Photographs, and 3. Personal Items.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Puchased from The Bookshop, December 11, 2017.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Gladys A. papers
Emma Arroyo
2018 August
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States