Los Angeles Latino Families Photo Project
The Los Angeles Latino Families Photo Project was launched at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) spring 2012. It is an extension of an earlier initiative launched in 2007 to combat the invisibility of the Mexican American contribution to Los Angeles and California history predating the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s within textbooks, trade, and academic books and articles. With the generous support of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, the CSRC was able to digitize close to 3,000 images from the Edward R. Roybal Papers and the Yolanda Retter Vargas Collection of Orphan Photographs. The first collection documents Edward Roybal’s public service career from the 1940s to the 1990s as a Los Angeles city councilman and a U.S. congressman. The second was collected by the previous librarian, Yolanda Retter-Vargas, who found the photographs at various flea markets. This collection consists of “orphan” photographs—images with no provenance information. They appear to belong to six families. Both collections have been completed and are available on the UCLA Digital Library.
After completing this project we quickly realized that Los Angeles Latino history is incomplete without the stories of its citizens. The Los Angeles Latino Families Photo Project was developed as a way to fully capture the complexity of this city’s history as well as address the issue of preservation through the digitization of vulnerable image-based collections. The photographs found in this particular collection were digitized and preserved during a Friends of the Library workshop held at the Chicano Studies Research Center spring 2012. They highlight the day-to-day lives of Latinos and Latinas living in Los Angeles over time. They document their families' histories and cultures capturing their movements between the United States and Latin America. One of the project’s goals is to provide the opportunity for community members to contribute additional photographs and information for the archival record.