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Southern California Architecture

A guide to Southern California architecture, landscape and design materials at The Huntington Library.

Additional Resources

Access digital collections: 

  • Online Archive of California (OAC): Access finding aids for select architecture and photograph collections at The Huntington.
  • Hathi Trust Digital Library: Access to digitized Huntington Library publications.
  • Architecture, Design, and Planning on the Huntington Digital Library: Selected materials from The Huntington’s larger holdings of plans, renderings, photographs and project records from some of Los Angeles’s earliest and most important architects, including Morgan, Walls & Clements, Edward Warren Hoak, Samuel Lunden, Wallace Neff and Florence Yoch & Lucile Council. 

Search elsewhere:

Several regional repositories hold rich collections related to Southern California architecture and design, including digital collections:

Searching for materials in the library catalog

The Huntington Library holds numerous printed materials, maps and photographic collections that focus on architecture, interior design, landscape design and the built environment in Southern California.  In order to discover relevant material across all collections, it is helpful to conduct a subject search within the library catalog.  Results can be refined by using the "Modify Search" feature to specify material type, date and other criteria.  Below are some sample subject searches that illustrate this process:

Dwellings -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs

Dwellings -- California -- Pasadena -- Photographs

Architecture -- California

Searching for Materials on the HDL

You can see all available digital collections on the landing page for the Huntington Digital Library (HDL). There are 24 subjects divided by collection, subject or material type. If you know which one interests you, you can click on the title or image and go directly to the collection's landing page.  If you are less sure of where you want to begin, or if you want to search across all collections, the search box at the top is a great place to start. Within a search, the HDL allows users to filter material using facets that limit results to geographic location, date and collection type. These facets will appear on the left-hand side of the page after you begin browsing/searching. Note that the available facets change depending on the collection you are browsing. Since built and landscaped environmental materials are spread across collection areas, searching by geographic region, name, neighborhood or landmark can still produce a variety of results.  Below are some sample searches to illustrate the process:


Palm Springs + Maynard Parker

Beverly Hills + House Furnishings -- photographs

Los Angeles Times Building + 1910

Two major collections in the HDL which contain a substantial amount of material related to design and the built environment are the Southern California Edison Photographs and Negatives collection and the Maynard L. Parker photograph collection. 

House History Research

The Los Angeles Public Library maintains a History of Your House guide that is useful for house historians. The resources listed on this guide provide information about previous owners, building permits and real estate transactions. 

View select photographs, maps and architectural materials on the Huntington Digital Library. Learn how to search for materials by geographic region.

The Huntington holds a number of Southern California architects' papers, which you can view on our Collections by Architect page. To determine if there are drawings or plans related to your home, view each collection's finding aid for detailed information about the contents of the collection or contact a Librarian for assistance.

Related Research Guides

Newspaper Collections
A guide to digital, rare and Los Angeles newspapers at The Huntington.