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Olive View Sanatorium and Hospital records

Identifier: 7095

Scope and Contents

The Olive View collection documents the history and functions of Olive View Hospital, from the opening of its doors as a tuberculosis sanatorium on October 27, 1920, to the current acute care and teaching hospital, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. The materials describe the tuberculosis crisis in the United States during the early 1900s, and the surrounding social, economic, policy, and regional factors that led to the creation of the Olive View Sanatorium to relieve the overcrowding of the downtown county hospital. The documents also record what life was like at Olive View, especially during Olive View's early days. Given its geographically isolated location, most of the staff lived onsite and Olive View became like a small town, with its own library, chapel, post office, barber shop, and for a time, even a school; it also had a farm, growing most of its own produce and raising hogs and chickens. A lab opened in 1926 and provided clinical lab tests and siginificant research on tuberculosis and cures, as well as other diseases. Olive View would undergo significant transformation after tuberculosis was curable (1947-1952), moving into acute care, surgery, mental health, and continuing with occupational therapy. Two fires and two earthquakes shaped the hospital's trajectory in the following decades (1962-1994).

In addition to documenting history, functions, and growth, the documents in the collection also provide insight into larger cultural trends, beliefs, and practices informing patient rights, patient care, and the role of hospitals in both the lives of individuals and in communities. The materials elucidate relationships between public and private institutions and the jurisdiction of Olive View and other hospitals. Intimate, and sometimes tragic pictures of life at the sanatorium are captured in patient newsletters, diaries, artwork, poetry, recollections via oral histories, and correspondence, including more recently, emails with creators of the collection. Changing attitudes and policy regarding migration, poverty, and national heritage are also documented in materials throughout the collection.


  • 1915 - 2015
  • Majority of material found within 1925 - 1995


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Rights Statement for Archival Description

Finding aid description and metadata are licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Biographical / Historical

Olive View was conceived in 1915 when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decided to build a sanatorium, using aid from The State Bureau of Tuberculosis, to care for the vast number of tuberculosis patients that were overwhelming the Los Angeles County Hospital. Many patients arrived from other states seeking healing in the warm, dry climate. Olive View was built in a remote part of the north San Fernando Valley, according to a cottage plan conceived by Edward Trudeau as a model for sanatoriums, with a central hospital, separate lab and administration buildings, and small cottages for patients.

On October 27, 1920, Olive View Sanatorium opened its doors, and welcomed 9 patients in 7 buildings with 26 employees, on November 9, 1920. By the end of the first year, Olive View reached capacity with 95 patients and 32 staff. With the growth under Olive View's first permanent superintendent, William H. Bucher, Olive View grew to become the largest tuberculosis sanatorium in the western United States; by 1941 there were 1,114 patients and 156 buildings, including an onsite school, post office, county branch library, radio station, lab, pharmacy, ecumenical chapel, and even a farm. Despite the abundant facilities and efforts to build a sense of community, the Olive View location was remote and many patients, including children, were isolated from their families, in some cases for years. Pediatric patients at Olive View were admitted either because they had tuberculosis or were thought to be at risk for the disease, due to poverty or a family member who was ill.

Olive View had a robust research program, and Emil Bogen, a widely-published researcher, came to head the lab in 1933. Between 1947 and 1952, new drugs became available to treat tuberculosis, and the number of patients naturally decreased. Olive View evolved into an acute care facility, renaming itself Olive View Hospital in 1959. Notably, the first open heart surgery in the area (and one of the firsts in California) was completed there in 1962. In addition to surgery, Olive View began to serve mental health patients, most of whom could otherwise not afford treatment. A new hospital building was built after fires in 1962 and 1966, and was completed in 1970. This facility was dedicated as Olive View Medical Center and destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The rebuild took 16 years, and in the interim, Olive View acquired the MidValley unit in Van Nuys.

In 1987, the new Olive View facility in Sylmar opened. Services expanded to include infant and maternal care, in addition to acute care and surgery. In 1992, Olive View changed its name again to reflect the close relationship it had with UCLA since the 1960s, and became Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, which it remains today.

Olive View Sanatorium: 11/9/1920 - 8/11/1959 Olive View Hospital: 8/11/1959 - 3/3/1970 LAC-Olive View Medical Center: 3/3/1970 - 1992 Olive View-UCLA Medical Center: 1992 - present


83.19 Linear Feet (109 boxes, 2 oversize folders, and 2 oversize tubes)

Language of Materials



The records of Olive View Hospital and Medical Center document daily life and important events at Olive View since its founding in the early twentieth century and also the ideological and structural changes the institution underwent. The collection also has significant scientific and medical materials that capture laboratory practices and scientific literature regarding the study and curing of tuberculosis, including numerous works from Emil Bogen.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by County of Los Angeles, July 2019; Charlotte (Lottie) Marler materials donated by Becky Mastrobuono, June 2021.

Related Materials

Emil Bogen Papers at The Hungtington Library, San Marino, California.

  • Construction/building project management books, bank statements for history group, empty display mounts, unrelated newspaper clippings, unrelated hard cover books, pins, unrelated photographs, duplicate copies of newsletters, 1990s purchase orders, damaged seal of honor, negatives, 1 stack of magazines (duplicate to USC's holdings), 2 carousel slide trays (empty), and oversize banner and duplicate oversize ariel photograph.
Finding aid for the Olive View Sanatorium and Hospital records
Kimberly Berry
2021 September
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