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Flash Exhibits in Library Special Collections

The UCLA Library Special Collections Flash Exhibit Program features in-house exhibits that are typically on display for less than two weeks.

C.B. Waite, Los Angeles Landscape Photographer: Documenting the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad’s “Santa Fe Route”




The San Juan Capistrano station was originally opened October 27, 1894 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.  It was one of the earliest examples of Mission Revival Style architecture in railway stations.

The towering gothic building of the State Asylum for the Insane and Inebriate in Highlands, San Bernardino County, which opened its doors in 1893. The asylum is still operating today as a forensic psychiatric hospital called Patton State Hospital.

One stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad was Rancho Camulos, near Hemet, the setting for Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona, which tourists flocked to see. Railroad promoters, writers and photographers all became drawn into the burgeoning Ramona craze, publishing hundreds of articles in books, magazines and newspapers touting the Ramona connection.


In the early days of Southern California’s oil boom, the landscape was littered with oil wells. The derricks pictured in the photograph were located near First Street in downtown Los Angeles. By 1894, 80 wells were producing oil in the Los Angeles area; by 1897, the number of wells had bourgeoned to over 500.

View of the Pacific Electric tram car connecting with the Mount Lowe incline railway, which opened in 1893 and  operated as one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions until 1938.

The San Juan Capistrano station was originally opened October 27, 1894 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.  It was one of the earliest examples of Mission Revival Style architecture in railway stations.

THE GENIUS OF LOTHAR MEGGENDORFER, PAPER ENGINEER Buffalo Bill’s Wilder Westen: A Pop-Up Book for Children - 1/8-20/2018




by Jane Carpenter

Lothar Meggendorfer was born on November 6, 1847 in Munich, Germany. Most of the books he illustrated were mechanical books for children, but Meggendorfer's humorous illustrations also appeared in conventional books and in the humor periodicals of Fliegende Blatter and the Munchener Bilderbogen. What distinguished Lothar Meggendorfer's books and what has come to be regarded as his genius was his ability to create mechanical books with intricate and realistic movements that had both humor and grace.





Some of Meggendorfer’s most fabulous and elaborate books are his Internationaler Circus (1887) and Das Puppenhaus (1889?), both of which are part of Library Special Collections’ Toy and Movable Book Collection. These ingenious pop-out panoramas deceptively present themselves as simple book-size objects when closed, only to become astonishing multi-dimensional detailed fold-out panoramas—from Lothar Meggendorfer: The Master of Moveable Books for Children.



A list of Meggendorfer’s masterpieces must also include Buffalo Bill’s Wilder Westen (1891), which unfolds accordion-style into six chromolithographic panels featuring three tiers of pop-up figures in scenes from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Enormously successful, Buffalo Bill became a recognized celebrity not only in America but also in Europe; he was especially popular with the Germans. Meggendorfer’s lack of familiarity with these events from the American West meant that another artist probably created the drawings for the German edition, although Meggendorfer almost certainly was the mastermind behind the book design and paper engineering. 





Buffalo Bill's wilder Westen: ein Bilderbuch zum Aufstellen fur Kinder. 

Call Number: *Z1033.T689 M44bu 1891

Date: 1891


oac thumbnail  Lothar Meggendorfer Papers, ca. 1888 - 1943

Mexico’s Patron Saint: The Virgin of Guadalupe - On Exhibit 12/2017

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Guadalupe, is one of the most well-known symbols of Mexico. Not only is she seen as the patroness of the country, she is seen as a mother to its people, reaching beyond Mexico and into the United States. 


According to tradition, the Virgin appeared to an indigenous man named Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac in northern Mexico City on December 9, 1531. She made a request for a church to be built on the site. When Juan Diego relayed this message to Bishop Zumárraga he was met with disbelief. He returned to the top of the hill asking the Virgin for a sign to share with the Bishop. The Virgin instructed Juan Diego to gather roses to bring to the Bishop. Juan Diego obeyed, collecting the roses in his tilma, a cloak made of cactus fiber, and carrying them back to the Bishop. When he arrived and opened the tilma, an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was imprinted on the cloth. The Basilica de Guadalupe was built in her honor at the top of the Hill of Tepeyac.

December 12 is the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Celebrations and altars honoring the Virgin are produced in the days leading up to this day and take many different forms throughout the US and Latin America. However, her image is present in the daily lives many Latinx. A great number of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have embraced her as part of their identity, utilizing her as a symbol in political, social, and civil movements throughout the 19th, 20th, and the present.



Comic Map of Europe: The Situation of Autocracy of Russia: Displaying the Situation of Countries - On Exhibit: December 5-9, 2017

By Jane Carpenter and Octavio Olvera

Persian version from around 1880 of Englishman Fred Rose's caricature pictorial map "Serio-Comic War Map" of 1877, in which expansionist Imperial Russia is portrayed as a menacing grasping octopus. At this time Iranians were suffering incursions from Western Europe, as seen in increased English activity in southwestern Iran, and Russian political penetration in the form of strong interdependent alliances with the Qajar elite. The Qajar also borrowed substantially from both England and Russia, creating a deep network of financial ties.

This hand-colored lithograph version of the map in Farsi, published and illustrated in Paris, was issued for the educated Iranian public to illustrate and satirize conflicting perspectives. The Persian version differs from Rose's 1877 map in several ways: France, previously portrayed by the figure of Marshal MacMahon pointing a gun towards Germany, is now depicted as a monk holding a picture of a heart on a scroll, with caption (translated from Farsi) reading "Paris is the heart of the world and everyone wishes to be there," a reference to Iran's affinity for France. Germany, whose attention was fixed on France in the Rose version, now looks eastward towards Russia. Norway and Sweden, largely ignored by Rose, are here represented as happy sleeping babes.

The key to the images, in Farsi, describes England as being in a hurry to not be left out; Spain, on account of keeping its power does not change anything and does nothing; Sweden and Norway are deeply asleep as they are not ready to do anything; Denmark keeps the flag of the seas; Finland seems like an old and broken mill; Belgium is the god of gold, silver, wealth and parties; Germany is just watching his neighbor but doesn't know what to do; Austria is busy keeping Hungary back, but Hungary wants to fight; Greece is a marine animal that wants to come to land; the Ottoman Empire is cut in two parts in the claws of an old animal (Russia); Russia is stretching his tentacles everywhere, although some could be easily cut off, like Crimea and Japan; and finally, it is hoped that Iran, looking at the world, and gaining no benefit by simply watching, will wake up and act.

  Removed from the Caro Owen Minasian Collection of Armenian materials 1600-1968 (Collection 1632) for separate cataloging; now part of the Collection of maps of Los Angeles, California, the United States and the world (Collection 294) some of which are available in the UCLA Digital Library

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY - On Exhibit: November 21 to December 10, 2017

Flash exhibit by Jane Carpenter and Octavio Olvera

Bartolomeo Scappi (c. 1500 – 13 April 1577) was a famous Italian Renaissance chef.  The first documented fact about his life had been that in April 1536 he organized a banquet while he was in the service of Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio.  He served several other cardinals after this, and then began to serve Pope Pius IV, entering the service of the Vatican kitchen.  As one of the first internationally renowned celebrity chefs, Scappi continued to work as a chef for Pope Pius V


He acquired fame in 1570 when his monumental cookbook Opera dell’arte del cucinare was published.  In the book, he lists approximately 1000 recipes of the Renaissance cuisine and describes cooking techniques and tools, giving the first known published image of a fork.  He declared parmesan to be the best cheese on earth, and noted that “the liver of [a] domestic goose raised by the Jews is of extreme size and weighs [between] two and three pounds,” indicating that Jews of the time were practicing the overfeeding needed to produce foie gras.  Reprints of Opera published from 1570 to 1643.


On exhibit are the first edition printed by Michele Tramezzino in Venice with its fine copper plates and a later 1598 reprint by Alessandro Vecchi in Venice with more rustic woodcuts.

"Situation Normal, All ... All Fouled Up!" Private Snafu: A U.S. Military Secret - On Exhibit: November 6-20, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Jane Carpenter and Octavio Olvera


Private Snafu was the title character of a series of black-and-white instructional cartoon shorts produced by Warner Brothers Cartoons for the U.S. military between 1943 and 1945 during World War IISnafu” was the creation of director Frank Capra, head of the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit, and the cartoon adventures of the little private--in which he did everything wrong!--were used to instruct service personnel about security, spies, booby traps, venereal diseases, and proper military protocols, and to boost troop morale.


Snafu Photo


The cartoons, written by Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Philip D. Eastman, and Munro Leaf, and directed by prominent Hollywood animators including Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng, had such titles as “Spies,” “The Infantry Blues,” “Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike,” and “A Lecture on Camouflage.”

The Private Snafu cartoons were considered classified documents, and the production staff had to be fingerprinted and given FBI clearance.  Artists were allowed to work on only ten cels at a time so that they wouldn’t be able to figure out the story!

All of the items on display in the case are from the collection of David Rose, Walt Disney Studio layout artist, and veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II. For more information, consult the finding aid in the Online Archive of California for the David Rose Collection of Scripts and Storyboards, 1943-1945 (Collection 1693).


Snafu Photo 3




Panopticism and Controlling Perceptions of Japanese Internment - On Exhibit: July 17-31, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Rebecca Bucher, Kelly Besser, and Annie Watanabe

When the United States interned Japanese American citizens during World War II, the War Relocation Authority kept strict control over how the camps were portrayed. Photographers were not allowed to capture the guard towers or fences enclosing the camp.  These photographs by Ansel Adams depict a carefully managed view of life at Manzanar. Inmates at the camps were generally not allowed cameras but did paint and draw scenes from their daily lives. In this painting, Watchtower, Matsusaburo Hibi depicts what photographers were forbidden to capture.

Watchtower, Topaz, painting by Matsusaburo Hibi

Watchtower, Topaz. Painting

by Matsusaburo Hibi

Matsusaburo Hibi Papers, Japanese American Research Project (Collection 2010). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

Manzanar photographs by Ansel Adams

Manzanar. Photographs by Ansel Adams.

WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, 1976-1981 - On Exhibit: July 10-16, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Jade Finlinson and Kelly Besser

image of flash exhibit case featuring Wet Magazine

image of flash exhibit case shelf 2 featuring Wet Magazine

With its distinctive graphic sensibility, absurdist humor, and deadpan dedication to “bathing culture,” Leonard Koren’s WET magazine embodied a postmodern aesthetic that influenced later pop culture publications like Spy and Ray Gun and inspired the creation of the NYC punk magazine, Dry.

WET featured interviews and reviews of avant-garde and New Wave artists, and contributors like photographers Herb Ritts and Matthew Ralston, graphic designers April Greiman and Tom Ingalls, and cartoonist Matt Groening, It was also packed with advertisements for Los Angeles retailers and event venues that show a snapshot of the city’s art and fashion scenes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Venice-based artist and designer Leonard Koren launched WET in 1976, an extension of his work creating “bath events” and “unusual bath environments” that began while earning a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA in 1972. Koren ceased publication of WET after a five-year run, but continued to create work dedicated to bathing, including a history of his signature magazine titled Making Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.

These display items are examples from a near-complete run of the magazine and related ephemera acquired as part of the Lewis MacAdams Papers (Collection 2289). MacAdams was an editor at WET from 1979-1981.

Memory Serves: The Japanese American Research Project - On Exhibit: June 5-June 17, 2017

Flash exhibit by Gaku Uchino

Image of flash exhibit case of Japanese American Research Project re Nisei

The Japanese American Research Project (JARP) was founded in 1960 by Shigeo Wakamatsu, President of the Japanese American Citizens League. The initial three objectives of this project were to conduct intergenerational surveys, publicize Japanese American history, and collect historical community documentation.

The collection consists of extensive materials related to first, second, and third generation Japanese Americans between 1893 and 1973. This collection contains individual and family papers, hundreds of oral history tapes, records of Japanese associations, surveys, photographs, art work, and publications. These materials are available at UCLA Library Special Collections as part of the Yuji Ichioka Japanese American Research Project Collection of Material about Japanese in the United States (Collection 2010)

Oil painting of Topaz Internment Camp 1945

Oil painting of Topaz internment camp (1945)Watercolor painting of Heart Mountain

 Watercolor of Heart Mountain internment camp (1942)

Copy of Nisei in Uniform

Nisei in Uniform

U.S. government transcripts concerning Japanese American loyalty (1942)

U.S. government transcripts concerning Japanese American loyalty (1942) 

Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out : On exhibit May 29-June 3, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Ashley Andalon-Venegas and Samantha Cordona, Class of 2017

Image of Huxley exhibit main caption

Flash exhibit case of Huxley

To view more images and content from this exhibit, please visit the corresponding blog post.

The Kurosawan Influence Behind Star Wars : On exhibit May 15-20, 2017

Flash exhibit by Jeannie Ma, LSC Public Services Graduating Senior 2017

image of flash exhibit case showing Star Wars and Kurosawa projects

When filmmaker George Lucas created Star Wars, he was inspired by many visual storytellers, including Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. This exhibit gathers materials in Library Special Collections which illustrate some thematic and aesthetic influences on Star Wars. Scenes from Kurosawa's projects are shown next to imagery from Star Wars to reveal obvious parallels.

image of exhibit case

Please visit this flash exhibit's corresponding blog post.

Marie Taglioni's Dancing Game : On Exhibit May 1-6, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Octavio Olvera and Genie Guerard

A recent acquisition for Special Collections that complements both its collection of toy and movable books, and its extensive dance archives, which includes the papers of modern dance pioneers Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis.

Movable parts appeared in scientific books as early as the sixteenth century, but were not conceived as entertainment for children until the mid-eighteenth century. The toy trade became increasingly important as the children's market grew in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The harlequinade was invented around 1765 by London bookseller Robert Sayer. Named after theatrical pantomimes featuring the harlequin in a leading role, these were composed of a single sheet of paper with illustrations on flaps that open to reveal another picture below. There were also juvenile drama sheets, printed sheets of scenery and characters out of which children created their own miniature theaters, the earliest of which date to about 1810. Around the same time the London firm of S. and J. Fuller invented the paper doll. These cutout figures were often accompanied by stories in verse.

“Dancing Game” consists of a hand colored, engraved and stipple mannequin of Marie Taglioni and six hand-colored engraved costumes, with backs and fronts glued together at the edges. Marie Taglioni (1804-1884) was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the romantic ballet. The six costumes depict her most famous roles, danced in Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique of the Paris Opera Ballet: La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty); Nathalia;

La Tentation; Guillaumme Tell; La Silphide; and Le Dieu et la Bayadere. 

The Morgan Camera Shop: On Exhibit April 17-22, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Processing Archivist, Kelly Kress

Main Image of Morgan Camera Shop Flash Exhibit

​While driving or walking down Sunset Boulevard east of Vine, you may have noticed the distinctive orange and brown signage for the Morgan Camera Shop. Though closed for some time now, the shop opened at 6262 Sunset Boulevard in 1938 and was a fixture in the neighborhood for over 50 years. (A previous location, known as Sunset Camera, had occupied a storefront since 1934 across the street at 6305 Sunset.)

Owned and operated by Gilbert Morgan, the shop sold cameras, film, lenses, and other photo-related gear and supplies, as well as books and magazines catering to professional photographers and hobbyists. It also operated as a salon and photographic exhibition space. Morgan focused on Leica cameras and the field of “miniature photography,” which at the time referred to the use of small, compact cameras such as those manufactured by Leica.

Image of top shelf of Morgan Camera exhibit

Morgan had strong ties to the photography community – his brother was Willard Morgan, and his sister-in-law Barbara Morgan, who were both well-known photographers based in New York City when Gilbert Morgan opened his shop. Willard Morgan worked for Leica and was instrumental in bringing the 35mm camera to the United States. Correspondence from the 1930s-1940s indicates Gilbert relied heavily on his brother Willard for advice, both business and technical. 

Above: Gilbert Morgan, left

During processing of the Barbara and Willard Morgan papers, I found this small cache of photographs and ephemera related to the Morgan Camera Shop.  In addition to the correspondence, materials include photographs, advertisements, and several editions of Morgan Camera News, the shop’s official monthly publication. Copies of Morgan Camera News date from 1934 to 1974 and are an entertaining mix of practical information and slightly gossipy photography-related news – not entirely out of place given the Hollywood location and clientele. Photos depict the interior of the shop during its 1940s heyday: shelves well stocked with cameras, chemicals, and rolls of film, as well as a celebrity patron or two.   

The Morgan Camera Shop closed in the early 2000s. But the signage remains, a reminder of a bygone era, both for Los Angeles and the photography industry. And the archival material remains as evidence of a once thriving creative community and the local business it supported.

Image of bottom shelf of Morgan Camera Shop flash exhibit

To see photographs of some of the individual items from this Flash Exhibit, please visit  the Library Special Collections blog post: The Morgan Camera Shop.

In Memoriam : Marta Becket, 1924-2017 - On Exhibit: March 27-March 31

Exhibit by Genie Guerard and Octavio Olvera

Exhibit case of Martha Becket

Marta Becket was born in New York City, then moved with her mother to Pennsylvania at age six and then to Philadelphia. Throughout her childhood she studied ballet, piano and art. Returning to New York at age twelve, she studied interpretive dance and classic ballet until the Depression hit, when her mother pushed her to develop a nightclub act rather than finish high school. She was in the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall, and during the 1940s and 50s, performed on Broadway, modeled and took on freelance art commissions. She also illustrated books by Balanchine and Walter Terry on ballet.

Frustrated with “too many artistic compromises and greedy producers,” Marta created a one-woman show and took it on the road with her husband-manager, Tom Williams. While on tour in 1964, a flat tire led them to Death Valley, where she discovered a collection of buildings, including a hotel, and Corkhill Hill, an abandoned social hall built by the Pacific Borax Company, a mining company. She envisioned a theatre where she would dance and perform, which she did for the next forty years. In her words, “I found my ship out here in the desert when I was 43.”

Honoring the town’s old name, Amargosa (a variation of the Spanish word for “bitter”) she renamed and revived the buildings as the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. Her works have been described as vaudevillian, ballet mime, and assemblages of brief dramatic and comedic pieces. She wrote the songs, dialogue, sewed the costumes and painted the sets, which she performed every Monday, Friday and Saturday whether there was a full house or not. In fact, it was always a full house because she painted an audience on the walls to keep her company when no one else showed up.

In 1981, the Amargosa Opera House was named to the National Register of Historic Places. In the mid-1980s, Tom and Marta divorced, by which time her close friend Tom Willett joined Marta on stage until he passed in 2005. Marta bid her audience farewell with a final performance on February 12, 2012, at age 87. 

Martha Becket's ballet slippers

The Special Conversational Interaction Work of Dr. Gail Jefferson: The Fantastic Subtlety of Everyday Exquisite Events | On Exhibit: March 6-11, 2017

Image of Gail Jefferson flash exhibit

By Fiona Eustace with assistance from Kelly Besser.

Gail Jefferson (1938-2002), a leading scholar of Conversation Analysis, developed transcription standards for use in this field. Jefferson earned her BA in Dance at UCLA and PhD in Social Sciences at UC Irvine. Inspired by Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis was developed by UCLA Sociologist Harvey Sacks along with Jefferson and UCLA Sociology Professor Emanuel Schegloff as co-founders.

Conversation Analysis is an approach to the study of social interaction, embracing both verbal and non-verbal conduct of mundane interactions. Jefferson’s work specifically examines overlapping exchanges, laughter, and other interactional phenomena in daily conversation.

When Jefferson died in February 2008, her husband, Albert Stuulen, created an archive of her extensive research—a wide range of working notes, draft and published papers, annotated transcripts, and correspondence.

The Jefferson collection distinguishes her research of interaction as endlessly contingent, focusing on the machineries through which interaction is constructed and how they are deployed in the moment-by-moment shaping and re-shaping of interaction.

This flash exhibit includes insight into Jefferson’s annotative transcription methods, individual developments in Conversation Analysis, and collaborative work with Harvey Sacks. As seen in this exhibit, she applied her transcript methods and research in transcriptions of the O.J. Simpson Case, Richard Nixon’s Watergate Tapes, and the RFK assassination.

The Gail Jefferson Papers (Collection 2319) will be available soon for research.