From drag races to family birthday parties, from Buster Keaton dutifully serving as the honorary mayor of Woodland Hills to an airplane crash on Glenoaks Boulevard—a range of everyday and exceptional images chronicling the postwar suburban boom of the San Fernando Valley will get a second look. This summer, a three-yearlong initiative to organize over 40,000 historic newspaper prints, including photos from the defunct Valley Times wraps up at the Los Angeles Public Library. Thanks to support from the Library Foundation and Photo Friends and through the work of Senior Librarian Christina Rice and archivist Christine Adolph, over 21,000 photos are now digitized and available for public viewing at lapl.org, with over 500 more being added each month. Now this important snapshot of Los Angeles history as documented by the Valley Times between 1946 and 1970 can be shared with future generations. In the spirit of summer, here are a few favorite photos from the collection below.
Valley State College student Laraine Lipshultz and library apprentice at the West Valley Library standing in a mobile unit in the library parking lot. She is dressed in scuba gear and reading a book in order to coax children into coming to the library for a sing-a-long and to join the summer reading program. June 27, 1963.
The North Hollywood Area YMCA and the Valley Times sponsored the “Learn-to-Swim” school, open to any “non-swimmer” boys in the San Fernando Valley between ages 8 and 12. March 28, 1958.
Lee Meriwether (Miss America 1955) holds 14-month-old daughter, Kyle, as they watch Frank Aletter (“Buddy” of the “Bringing Up Buddy” CBS show) working on family pool. August 26, 1961.
Quarterback Max Choboian serves snack to Mrs. John Warren as her daughter, Jane, 2 1/2, looks on. August 6, 1963.
Members of ‘Throttle Queens’ put last touches to their pride and joy,
club coupe, to compete against male-driven car at the San Fernando Drag Strip. October 9, 1956.
“Now What Have I Done?” says Buster Keaton as he is flagged and ticketed for racing without approved safety clothing by Gus Bivona, recording star and Honorary Sheriff of Woodland Hills. May 20, 1965.
Gabriel Bartold gives dynamic direction to the Los Angeles Municipal Concert band at the opening concert of the free summer band concert season at Reseda Park. May 17, 1965.
Three members of the Jack F. Kidd family, 6707 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, devise their own method of beating soaring Valley temperatures. July 11, 1961.
Browse the full Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection here.