Visual Collection

"Quaker Colony Brand Tomatoes," EPH-022. Part of the Whittier Historical Visual Collection.

Whittier Historical Visual Collection includes digitized images of printed materials documenting the growth of Whittier area communities from the early 1900s to the 1970s. We welcome any additional information you may have about any of these materials. Please send comments or questions to:

Whittier Historical Visual Collection 

Matchbook Covers:  More than 200 matchbook covers advertising Whittier area businesses were lent to the library by collector Bob Donnelson and the Angelus Match Cover Club. These have primarily been dated by street addresses, which changed throughout Whittier in 1966, and by whether the "striker" is on the front of back of the matchbook. In 1971, a law was passed prohibiting front strikers, and businesses were given until 1973 to distribute their back stock of front strikers. 

City and Street Directories: The two oldest city directories housed in the Whittier History Room have been digitized: 1903 and 1911. Here you can also find Whittier Street Number Changes, which is useful in researching the pre-1966 history of a Whittier home or building.

Whittier Chamber of Commerce Publications: The Whittier Board of Trade (later called the Whittier Chamber of Commerce) published pamphlets in the early 1900s meant to attract new residents from the East and Midwest. These pamphlets contain a wealth of enthusiastically expressed information on the Whittier of that era. 

Ephemera: These items of collectible memorabilia, which were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness, reveal unique details about Whittier's past. Here you can peruse tickets, event programs, advertisements, pamphlets, and product labels. 

Periodicals: Publications from the Whittier History Room's collection that have been digitized include the Whittier Daily News Annual Edition, articles from Out West Magazine, and a periodical called Whittier Boys and Girls Magazine, printed by students at Whittier State School (later called Fred C. Nelles School for Boys). 

Maps: The Whittier History Room's collection of Whittier area maps includes those created by civil engineers working for the City of Whittier and County of Los Angeles, as well as Thomas Bros. maps. They trace the transformation of Whittier from a land of orchards to the suburban town of today. Lists of the History Room's collections of Whittier area maps, U.S. Geological Survey Maps, and a complete list of all maps housed in the archive are available here as well.