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Hearst Corporation Los Angeles Examiner photographs, negatives and clippings--oversize portrait and subject files

Identifier: 7000-3

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.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to reproduce or license these images must be submitted in writing to the Regional History Librarian. 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.

Historical Note

The Los Angeles Examiner was founded in December 1903 by William Randolph Hearst. A morning paper, it printed its last issue on January 7, 1962. The paper closed at the same time as the Times-Mirror afternoon paper the Los Angeles Mirror. These closures left the Los Angeles Times as the only significant morning newspaper in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Evening Herald & Express, another Hearst paper, as the only significant afternoon paper. After its closure, the Examiner was absorbed by the Herald &amp Express, which was renamed the Herald-Examiner. The Examiner was a right-leaning paper and published as a broadsheet. At the time of its closure, the paper had a daily circulation of about 380,000 and a Sunday circulation of about 700,000. The closure of the paper at the same time as that of the Los Angeles Mirror caused the Department of Justice to open an informal restraint-of-trade investigation into possible collusion between the Hearst and Times-Mirror companies.


493.12 Linear Feet (368 flat storage boxes)

Language of Materials



This finding aid is for the oversize portrait and subject files of the Los Angeles Examiner photograph and clippings morgue.


The photographic and clippings morgue of the Hearst newspaper, the Los Angeles Examiner, consists of the photographic print and negative files--along with clippings files--maintained by the newspaper from its inception in 1903 until its closing in 1962. It contains approximately 1.4 million prints and negatives. The collection is divided into multiple parts: 7000.1--Portrait files; 7000.2--Subject files; 7000.3--Oversize prints; 7000.4--Subject clippings; and 7000.5--Biographical clippings. Each part of the collection is then divided into 26 series, one for each letter of the alphabet, with the exception of the 7000.3 set, which is divided into 2 series -- Oversize Portrait Files and Oversize Subject Files, with subseries for each letter of the alphabet.

Processing Note

While processing this collection, the Examiner's original folder titles were maintained whenever possible. Due to inconsistencies in the original folder titles (including spelling, punctuation and abbreviations) some formatting changes were made to the folder titles as written in the finding aid to facilitate discovery. Please keep in mind that the file titles reflect the time in which they were written and the Examiner's use of the prints within. Examples of corrections made to the file titles in the finding aids are:

-File titles containing abbreviations for states (e.g., Conn.) were expanded to include the full state name.

-Colons, parentheses, commas, and other forms of division between subtopics were replaced with double dashes to offset subtopics.

-US, USA, U.S., and U.S.A. were standardized as U.S.

-Misc. was written out as Miscellaneous.

Finding aid for the Hearst Corporation Los Angeles Examiner photographs, negatives and clippings - oversize portrait and subject files
Finding aid prepared by Michael Hooks. Data entry done by Sehreen Ladak, Stephen Siegel, and James Violette
2012 September
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

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