Skip to main content

African American Photograph Collection

Identifier: SPC-2021-003

Scope and Contents

The African American Photograph Collection (circa 1940s-2010s) contains 6 boxes and 4.42 linear feet consisting of photograph albums and some loose photographs featuring images of African Americans. Photographs in this collection include images of: families; children; infants; soldiers; school, graduation, and military portraits; people inside and in front of homes; people posing in front of cars; candid photographs of people participating in a variety of activities such as reading, talking on the phone, gathering around a table for a meal, and sitting on couches. There are also images of people in parks, gardens, and fields; images of celebrations and events such as birthdays, weddings, attending church; and photographs taken around holidays such as Christmas and Easter. This collection contains ten series. Series 1 contains photograph albums compiled by Albert L. Bowie; Series 2 contains a photograph album compiled by Evelyn G. Patterson as well as a few loose items related to her education such as report cards, a certificate, and diploma; Series 3 contains a photograph album regarding the Richardson, Henry, and Barnett families and contains mostly portrait style photographs as well as a few loose items such as funeral and graduation programs; Series 4 contains a photograph album compiled by Josephine Varner, as well as a folder of loose photographs, documents, and postcards; Series 5 contains one photograph album belonging to Mary Lou Washington, as well as a military patch; school letterman patches; business cards; thank you notes and cards; funeral and event programs; a student progress report and report card; and a handwritten love letter; Series 6 contains eleven photograph albums in which the album compilers or creators are unknown. A majority of the photograph albums in this series do not have any dates or any other descriptive information such as names of people featured in the photographs, or the location where the photographs were taken; Series 7 contains single and loose photographs that were not part of any album; Series 8 contains black-and-white photographs of soldiers presumably taken in the 1940s; Lastly, Series 9 contains seven postcards featuring images of people and locations in the Los Angeles, CA. area.


  • circa 1920s-1990s


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

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


6 boxes (one document box, four photograph album boxes, one oversized box, one oversized panoramic photograph)

5.33 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains 15 photograph albums, as well as single and loose photographs featuring images of African Americans. Images depict families; children; soldiers; and infants in a variety of settings and participating in many activities such as parties and events; holidays such as Christmas and Easter; inside and in front of homes; in front of cars; birthdays; churches; parks; vacations; and others. Also included in this collection are school, graduation, and military portraits; and some news clippings, brochures, flyers, postcards, and other ephemera in a few of the photograph albums.

Inventory of the African American Photograph Collection
Karen Clemons
2021-02; 2022; 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747