Monomania L.A.: Exploring California Collections

Through a series of short films and articles, Monomania L.A. profiles five L.A. as Subject collectors who have turned a monomaniacal obsession with a particular aspect of Southern California history into a public resource. These collectors have documented disparate subjects -- the California orange, sci-fi reading circles, political graphics, a Mexican rancho, African American photographers -- but their stories share one thing in common: a passion for history that has enriched our understanding of Southern California's past.

The short documentaries featured in the articles were compiled into an Artbound special episode that debuted Tuesday, March 17 on KCET, showcasing each collector. Read more about them here:

Monomania L.A.: Kent Kirkton and Images of Black L.A.


Kent Kirkton's collection of images by African-American photographers is an essential resource for anyone researching the history of African-Americans in L.A.

Ernest Marquez and Rancho Boca de Santa Monica


Ernest Marquez' family arrived in California in 1771. What began as a quest to illustrate a family history turned into a collection of 4,600 rare photos of historical Southern California.

Jim Kepner and the Sanctuary of Sci-Fi


The science fiction collection of pioneering LGBTQ rights activist Jim Kepner reveals hidden harmonies between sci-fi fandom and LGBTQ activism in the 1950s.

Carol Wells and the Politics of Postering


The Center for the Study of Political Graphics houses more than 85,000 posters, including the largest collection of post-World War II human rights and protest posters in the US.

David Boulé and the California Orange


David Boulé has assembled perhaps the largest single collection of materials related to the production and promotion of California oranges.


Dig this story? Sign up for our newsletter to get unique arts & culture stories and videos from across Southern California in your inbox. Also, follow Artbound on FacebookTwitter, and Youtube.

Story continues below


We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading

Full Episodes