Monday, August 25, 2014

Los Angeles Archives, III

In my previous post about the Los Angeles City Archives, I described an "organized room" and a "disorganized room." But that's not accurate. The organized room looks meticulous and tidy, yet it holds vast mysteries. And the disorganized room you see here, the vault, is very much in order in many ways. Yet there's work to be done.

Archivist Michael Holland cannot shelve, check and itemize every day. There are documents to be delivered, boxes to be retrieved, city officials to be informed. The job is immense.

I'd love to give Michael a staff to go through it all. But there's something beautiful about these old books as they are. In a way, I hope there will always be mysteries in the archives.

Then again, organization has its beauties, too.

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You can visit the Los Angeles Archives, too. (You even can see some records online.) If you want a tour, just call for an appointment. If you want to see a specific document, you need to call ahead for that, too, so the document can be found and retrieved for you.

Michael can often be heard on KPCC's Off Ramp with John Rabe, Saturdays 12-1pm and Sundays 6-7pm. Thanks to Anne Louise Bannon for setting up the tour and coming with me.

18 comments:

William Kendall said...

I like the look of the old leather on the books.

Petrea Burchard said...

I agree, William, they're so pretty.

Ms M said...

Wonderful photos you took during your tour!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

All those thoughts and words committed to paper I bet it all smells marvelous.

Petrea Burchard said...

The air is clear and ventilated, but yes, when you get close up.

José Mendonça said...

I'm loveling this series, Petrea!

Petrea Burchard said...

This is the last one of three, José. I'm glad you like it. I'll be onto something else soon.

altadenahiker said...

The minutes are beautifully bound. Does anyone ever read them? And to what purpose?

Petrea Burchard said...

We'd have to ask Michael, Hiker. They're probably referred to at times, but maybe less as they get older.

The day I was there, one person was studying documents, and Michael had to deliver documents to City Hall. So there is a call for these materials.

Book Dragon said...

It hurt to see the books on the wire shelves but I think I'd like to move it ;-)

So you think there is room for me and my books?

TheChieftess said...

Somehow I think the archives will always hold a mystery or ten!!! (No matter how neat and tidy!)

Petrea Burchard said...

Book Dragon, I think the wires don't go under the books but just serve to hold the shelves at the front. I hope so.
There'd be room for many book collections if LA's wasn't taking up all the space.

You got that right, Chieftess.

Bellis said...

I couldn't walk past those old books without wanting to look inside. Did you feel the same way?

Petrea Burchard said...

Yes but I was afraid to touch them, Bellis. Also, I knew after looking at the beautifully written documents Michael showed me (yesterday's post) that once I started, I would never stop.

Margaret said...

So cool. It is great fun to spend time looking at historical stuff. I loved researching my book on the suffrage movement. I had lots of fun at the Huntington Library.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm enamored of it all, too. From architecture to archives, the older the better.

Dina said...

As you said, the older the better.