Hosted by the USC Libraries, L.A. as Subject is an association of more than 230 libraries, cultural institutions, official archives, and private collectors dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden histories of the Los Angeles region. Our posts here provide a view into the archives of individuals and institutions whose collections inform the great narrative -- in all its complex facets -- of Southern California.
This month, Manhattan Beach celebrates its centennial. Known for its lively seaside promenade, the Strand, and for its associations with surf culture, the city has its origins as a coastal resort built atop shifting sand dunes of the South Bay.
With streetcars likely returning to downtown L.A. after a five-decade absence, take a look back at the city's very first streetcars -- diminutive, horse-drawn vehicles that spawned L.A.'s first suburbs.
With many of the imported goods sold across the county at deep discount this Black Friday having passed through the twin seaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, explore the story of Southern California's unlikely harbor -- and how it came to be divided between two cities -- through selected images from the region's photographic archives.
Los Angeles' first hotel, the Bella Union, functioned as more than simply temporary lodging for out-of-town visitors. For decades after it opened in 1849, it was the heart of civic life in the rough-edged, newly American city.
Triggering allergies, fraying nerves, and alarming fire-prone communities, Santa Ana winds have long been a fact of life in Southern California -- the unadvertised price residents pay for the region's otherwise idyllic weather.
An extensive system of creeks, arroyos, and other watercourses once crisscrossed Los Angeles. Today, most of L.A.'s streams have been paved over, buried and converted into storm drains, or eliminated from the landscape altogether.
In June 1943, L.A. witnessed some of its most surreal scenes of street violence: sailors coursing through the city streets in their Navy uniforms, carrying sticks and targeting anyone wearing a zoot suit.
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