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All Nations Church and Foundation photographs

Identifier: 0421

Scope and Content

The All Nations Church and Foundation photographs (circa 1924-1967) contain approximately 800 photographs, including approximately 350 regular and 15 oversize photographs; 113 slides; 139 glass slides; 66 negatives in various formats; and 140 photographs that were used for a publicity campaign. The collection also contains textual material, in the form of lists of captions for the publicity campaign, and two short films, the contents of which are unknown. Most of the collection's materials are undated and unidentified, though some images provide dates, captions, or other writing that can aid in identification; dated materials encompass the years 1924-1967, with the bulk of this material dating from the 1940s to the 1960s; one slide from the Statistical Maps (Slides) series is dated 1914.

Despite the lack of identifying information or attribution, the All Nations Church and Foundation photographs provide a rich view of the All Nations organization, as seen in images of people, community, activities, and facilities. The photographs portray a range of subject matter, including All Nations centers and community life; arts and education; recreation and leisure; groups and individuals; and publicity. Within these broad themes, images depict churches and religious services; learning activities such as reading and arts and crafts; music and drama; sports and excursions; festivities such as dances and parties; and medical and dental care at the organization's clinics. The collection's statistical map slides cover a range of issues pertinent to social services and social work in Los Angeles, including but not limited to data concerning neglected children; vagrancy; sexual assaults; runaways; and various crimes committed by youths. The textual materials in the Publicity Pictures series were organized by All Nations into seven packets, with the following titles: The Nature of the Inner City; Forms of Inner City Ministry; Inner City Preschoolers; Inner City Children; Inner City Youth; Inner City Adults; and Meditations. The contents of the films in the Films series are unknown. While this series also contains boxes for shipping films, the collection does not include the films mentioned on these containers.

Images in the collection include All Nations Boys' Club and All Nations Clinic. The collection also includes several photographs by the "Dick” Whittington Studio.

The condition of the materials in the collection ranges from poor to good. Some of the photographs are bent or torn, and several of the glass slides are cracked.


  • circa 1924-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

The use of archival materials for on-site research does not constitute permission from the California Social Welfare Archives to publish them. Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives, and the researcher is instructed to obtain permission to quote from or publish manuscripts in the CSWA's collections from the copyright holder.

Historical note

All Nations, in its heyday the largest and most effective social welfare organization in Los Angeles, was begun in 1918 in an east-central section of the city known as "Eastside." The City Missionary Society of the Methodist Church, under pastor Bromley Oxnam, established and ran the church settlement, gathering donations, organizing volunteers, buying land and buildings, and equipping gymnasiums, playgrounds, libraries, and clinics for a community where three-fourths of the families were on public assistance and where much of the population consisted of immigrants from Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Oxnam initially developed the physical facilities of All Nations, acquiring a complex of buildings at 810-816-824 E. Sixth Street just before his resignation from the organization in 1927.

Oxnam's successor was the Reverend Robert A. McKibben, whose work as administrator, social worker, fund raiser, and collaborator with other social welfare agencies, including the Federal and Los Angeles Relief Administrations and the National Youth Administration, ensured the continued success of All Nations. Character-building activities for the children, a vacation bible school, the library, and medical programs--including medical and dental clinics served by a cadre of approximately fifty volunteer doctors, optometrists, and dentists--were critical services in the work of All Nations. Especially noteworthy was All Nations' extraordinarily successful Boys' Club, which became a Boys' Club of America in 1927 with some 950 members from thirty nationalities and fifteen religions. All Nations also operated two other community centers: the Sunset Community Center at 1001-1005 Sunset Boulevard, and the Hollenbeck Heights Social Center at 200 North St. Louis Street. These branches of All Nations concentrated on work with youths. When McKibben began his work with All Nations, the Eastside had the highest delinquency rate in the city, but within the next three years, that rate would drop by 65%.

Reverend McKibben left All Nations in 1952, and was succeeded by James Mixon. By the 1960s, new industrial development in the area and slum clearance had reduced the area's population. Such changes led to questions about the usefulness of traditional settlement programs in this area; at the same time, All Nations' principal support began to come from the United Way rather than from the Methodist Church.

Information in this note is based on the Historical Note for the All Nations Church and Foundation records collection (0403) finding aid, developed by Jane Adler and Clay Stalls, with additional information and editing by Sue Tyson. All information in this history comes from material in the collection; from Robert McKibben, With The Master into the Heart of the City: First Forty Years of All Nations Foundations ([S.l.] [s.n.], 1977?); and from Mark H. Wild, Street Meeting: Multiethnic Neighborhoods in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). The founding date of 1918 is referenced in Wild's book.


5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



The All Nations Church and Foundation photographs (circa 1924-1967) consist of photographic material in a variety of formats; the collection provides a rich view of the people, community, and activities associated with the All Nations Foundation's operations in Los Angeles. Among the subjects documented in the photographs are All Nations centers and community life; arts and education; recreation and leisure; groups and individuals; and publicity materials. The collection complements the All Nations Church and Foundation records, also held in the California Social Welfare Archives at USC.

Organization note

The photographs are organized into seven series: Centers and Community; Arts and Education; Recreation and Leisure; Groups and Individuals; Statistical Maps (Slides); Publicity Picture Packets; and Films and Film Materials. Grouping of images is based on their main subject matter.


Gift of James Blaine, former Director of All Nations Boys Club.

Related Archival Materials

All Nations Church and Foundation records, Collection no. 0403, California Social Welfare Archives, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

Processing note

Clay Stalls partially processed this collection in 2000. In 2011, Sue Tyson completed processing the collection and produced this finding aid.

The order in which the collection's series are arranged reflects their relative cohesiveness of subject matter and level of specificity. Centers and Community; Arts and Education; and Recreation and Leisure appear first because they provide the most specific references to or indications of the All Nations Church and Foundation's areas of operation and functions. The Groups and Individuals series follows these series because of its more miscellaneous character; though this series has the most photographs, its images reflect a wide range of activities. The Statistical Maps (Slides) and the Publicity Picture Packets series follow these others because they represent narrower areas of focus. Because the contents of the films in the Films and Film Materials series are unknown, this series appears last.

Finding Aid for the All Nations Church and Foundation photographs
Sue Tyson
2011 June 10
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