Los Angeles Public Library

Table of Contents

Los Angeles Public Library


Facility Contacts: Michael Kirley, Genealogy Specialist

Carolyn Cole, Senior librarian, Photographic Collection

Glen Creason, Map specialist

Cindy McNaughton, California History Specialist


Address: Los Angeles Public Library

630 West Fifth St. (between Grand and Flower, downtown)

Los Angeles, California 90071-2097


History & Genealogy Department

Tom Bradley Wing

Lower Level 4.


Telephone: Information, Main Number (213) 228 7000

History and Genealogy Dept. (213) 228-7400

Email history@lapl.org

Photograph collection: www.lapl.org/databases/photodatabase


Hours of Operation: Mon. through Thurs.: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Fri. and Sat.: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sun.: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Park at 524 S. Flower St., beneath the entry gardens to the library. For the special parking rates, obtain a library card in the check in/ check out area, and have your parking ticket validated at the information desk before returning to your car in the garage. With a free library membership,  you receive a sticker for your car which makes the cost of parking $1.00 on the weekend.


Description of Resources:

The public library system has 5.5 million volumes, 6600 periodical subscriptions, 3000 audio tapes, 2600 films, and 91,000 maps. It has special collections in California in fiction, California history, children's literature, drama and theater, fiction by and about Blacks, genealogy, U.S. patents, and U.S. documents.


The following list gives the location of California related genealogical material:


Lower level 4 History, Genealogy


The reference material of primary interest


Los Angeles Voter's Records


Vital statistics indexes on microfiche (some may be located on microfilm):


California deaths index, 1930-1994


California marriage index, 1960-1986


]California divorce index, 1962 - 1984

The library owns all available naturalization records for the U.S. District Court for Southern California.

It also has the Los Angeles Superior Courts' certificates of citizenship, 1876 - 1906, declarations of intention , 1887 - 1915, and petitions for naturalization, 1907 - 1915.


Newspapers & Periodicals:

All general city newspapers are located in the Department of History and Genealogy. Los Angeles newspapers are well represented in the microfilm collection. Newspapers from several other major cities are available, including the Chicago Tribune 1849 -, New York Times 1851 - , Times of London 1785 - , San Diego Union and San Francisco Chronicle 1869 -, Denver Post, and the Boston Globe. (See the three ring binder listing all the newspapers and their dates at the reference desk.)


In general periodicals are located in the subject department with books on that subject. In the History and Genealogy Department there are some 600 genealogy related titles, many with long back files. Included are both Toledot and Avotaynu. Many are indexed individually or in PERSI, the Periodical Source Index which is the genealogical equivalent to Readers Guide To Periodical Literature


City Directories & Telephone Books:

The History and Genealogy Department has collections of both hard copy and microfilm city directories. There is an eclectic set of approximately 1200 paper directories and L. A. City Directories (1886 to 1942) in the open stacks in the Department. These are listed on cards kept at the reference desk. The library owns City Directories of the United States, 5000 City directories from 1861 to 1960 on microfilm. Directories on microfiche cover earlier years (1666 - 1860). These may be located by searching the folder at the reference desk on "Genealogy Department Microforms."

A collection of telephone books , "Phone fiche", is also available. It covers Los Angeles from 1903 to present, and other cities from 1976 to present


Biography Indexes:

California Biography Index

California Subject Index (newer entries on the computer.)


Maps and Gazetteers:

Maps and gazetteers are located in the Department of History and Genealogy . The map collection is one of the largest in American public libraries, with 80,000 maps, 2,000 atlases, 1,000 gazetteers and over 1000 books supporting the study of maps and mapping.


The library has a selection of Army Map Service sectional maps at different levels of detail for different countries. Some eastern European countries are represented at an excellent scale (Poland at 1:100,000, for example). Among the features of the collection are historic street maps of Los Angeles back to 1849 and historic street guides back to 1929. The map collection also includes the Library of Congress collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases on microfilm for the state of California, and Sanborn maps for Los Angeles from the 1880s to 1970. There is a listing of the maps available at the reference desk. Ask for the map librarian.



The library's collection of 350,000 photographs of Los Angeles beginning in the 1880's from the Security Pacific collection and 2.5 million photo archives of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner newspaper are available for viewing by appointment only. Time periods are limited and usually booked several weeks ahead. Call 213 - 228 - 7400 and ask for the history department to schedule. Copies of some of the photographic prints may be ordered .

Examples of:

Photographs -- on LAPL collection site

Searching under "Boyle Heights"


Talmud Torah - Breed Street Shul and interior


114 Rose St, old site in Boyle Heights


Temple B'nai B'rith on Wilshire


Workmen's Circle school class - 1945 and PTA group at 918 Evergreen Ave.]


\Roosevelt High alumni - 1935


Frank's Tavern - 1933 - don't know if this has any significance to Jews
Searching under "markets - ca - la"


Fruit and Vegetable Market at 1048 Soto, Boyle Heights


Panorama looking from Elysian Park - 1910
Searching under "streets-la"


Broadway looking south from 1st Sreet with trolley marked \


Boyle Heights


Panorama of Boyle Heights-1880


Drawing of Boyle Heights - 1877


Zellman's Mens and Boys Store on Brooklyn - exterior and interior


Plaque at Home of Peace Cemetery


Congregation B'nai Jacob]


Benjamin Franklin Branch library -


Copyright November 2002. All Rights Reserved

Please send your comments, corrections, suggestions and research contributions to nholden@interserv.com