As part of the Port of Los Angeles' Centennial celebration, the Los Angeles Harbor Department established an Archives to collect and preserve historical materials relating to the history and operation of the Port of Los Angeles. The Historical Archives maintains over 26,000 linear feet of materials including records, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, films, artifacts, and ephemera generated during the course of official business and community outreach.
Hours and Location
Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives
272 South Fries Avenue
Wilmington, CA 90744
Click here to send an email to Historical Archives
Tuesday/Thursday, by appointment only
Documents & Records
The Port's archives collection includes over 100 years of meeting minutes, letters of correspondence, reports, and contracts and agreements created during the course of business.
The Port's photo collection includes nearly 200,000 images from the 1890s through present day. These images document a wide variety of harbor history, including Port operations, events, construction, harbor communities, fishing, shipping, and cargo handling. Forms of photography include nitrate, acetate, polyester and glass plate negatives, lantern slides, projection slides, paper prints and digital images. The Archives is currently digitizing its photograph and records collections. Click here to search thousands of photographs online.
Maps & Drawings
Historical Archives maintains over 14,000 historic architectural blueprints, drawings and conceptual sketches of Port projects dating back to 1907. The Port's map collection focuses on the changing geography of the Port during the 20th century.
The Port's artifacts collection includes historic machinery and equipment, fossils, bottles, ceramics, architectural details, pins, plaques, statues, and works of art.
As part of The Port’s Centennial celebration in 2007, more than 100 members of the harbor community were interviewed and recorded. Their narratives provide insight on the development of the Port and give added dimension to the harbor community’s history. Click here to view Oral Histories.
Historical Archives contains a substantial collection of moving images, dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, chronicle everyday harbor community life, and include promotional pieces, news clips, home movies, and feature films shot in and around the harbor area.
Historical Archives has an extensive library of books, DVDs, maps, dictionaries and CDs available for on-site research. Topics include (but are not limited to) Los Angeles Harbor history, harbor community history, shipping, transportation, economics, nautical terminology, Port guides, foreign etiquette, and biographies.
Current Exhibition (continues through February 25, 2013)
Los Angeles Harbor’s Naval Past:
World War II Shipyards, 1941-1945
Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives Lobby
272 South Fries Avenue, Wilmington
Historical Archives hosts a number of rotating exhibitions each year. To visit the archives and view exhibitions contact the Archives Office at (310) 732-0360.
Internship & Volunteer Opportunities
For information about internship and volunteer opportunities at the Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives, contact the Port's Human Resources Division at (310) 732-3480, or the Archives Office at (310) 732-0360.