Archival research

Access to the S. Charles Lee Papers in the UCLA Library Special Collections and the historic theater buildings provides a unique opportunity to examine a slice of architectural history and urban American culture. The archival collection contains documents and drawings illustrating every step of the design and construction process, from initial conceptual sketches to detailed renderings of ornamental features within the buildings. This project is designed to integrate archival research methods with innovative examinations from a Digital Humanities approach. We aim to understand the evolution of cinema in Los Angeles at the start of the 20th century by collecting records of activities that occurred in and around the historic theater district including detailed records on sales, leases, and occupants; ephemera generated during shows, gatherings, and events; directories of contractors engaged in remodeling activities; and physically locating pieces of the buildings and ornamentation that were redistributed during these renovations.