Theodore Hall has a Finding Aid!

You’re of course familiar with the Big Four—Crocker, Huntington, Hopkins and Stanford—well, the Big Five, actually, as people always forget Edwin Crocker, since he’s Charles’ brother.

Similarly, when it comes to the great Bunker Hill photographers, there’s the Big Four—Hylen, Reagh, Connor and Hall—well, the Big Five, actually, as people always forget Nadel, since he was a pro on a mission for the City rather than a Bunker enthusiast.

Bunker Hill’s Big Five are, by and large, accessible out there in internet-land. Hylen is well-represented at the Cal State Library, as is Reagh; there’s no shortage of Reagh over at LAPL, either. Palmer Connor is digitized in all his Kodachrome glory over at the Huntington, and Nadel’s work can be found online at the Getty.

The photography of Theodore Seymour Hall, however, has remained in the shadows, undigitized at the Huntington, viewable only to those with the gumption to go to the library and see his work in person. The best place to see a selection of Hall’s work is in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles. So, grab your copy and check out pages 6, 41, 97 (bottom), 108, 134 (left and right), 135, 155 (bottom right), 158, 159 (bottom right), and 174. Those are all Hall images. Heck, a Hall even graces the back cover!

A classic Hall shot: the pensioners of Bunker Hill sun themselves and discuss current events on the benches at the end of Third Street where it dead-ended at Bunker Hill Avenue. This image gets a nifty two-page spread on pp. 108-9.

Now, however, there is a rather detailed finding aid. I’ll admit I’m a little proud to have lent a hand on the project. But the real credit goes to Huntington archivist Suzanne Oatey, who did all the heavy lifting. In short, Hall put out three self-published 11×14 photobooks in 1962-63 of various Bunker Hill scenes, and now you can read what’s in ’em.

The finding aid is here. Here it is expanded in PDF and in HTML.

Someday, of course, I’d like reissue all three books in one volume with deeper commentary and so forth, à la Hylen’s Bunker Hill: A Los Angeles Landmark but, all in good time.

One last thing. Strictly speaking we should include Virgil Mirano, the least-known of the Bunker photographers. So, from the Big Four to Five to Big Six. But now we risk confusing our photographers with the Big Six, so, we’ll call them the Bunker Six. Mirano is also undigitized, and his finding aid doesn’t tell you much, but you can see some of his work in BHLA on pages 38 (left), 68 (left), 112 (bottom), 156 (left), 156 (top right) and 163 (top).

Oh, and George Mann. The Bunker Seven!

4 thoughts on “Theodore Hall has a Finding Aid!

  1. Good work once again, Nathan. I am particularly fond of the photo of the old guys sitting on the benches where 3rd Street dead ends into S. Bunker Hill Ave. That is the essence of the Bunker Hill I remember from my life there.

    Liked by 2 people

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