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The Watson Family Photo Archive Is Full of Old Hollywood Images


Old Hollywood SignOld Hollywood SignOld Hollywood SignOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignBuilding of L.A. City HallOld Hollywood SignleftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood Signsecond from leftOld Hollywood SignDelmar's younger brother entitled "The Big Itch."Old Hollywood SignFrom the darkroomOld Hollywood SignPhoto of Harry Watson (Delmar's older brother) in WWII.Old Hollywood Sign1904 glass negativeOld Hollywood SignSpeed graphic reporter’s 4x5 cameraOld Hollywood SignKessler color enlargerOld Hollywood SignVintage Toshiba video cameraOld Hollywood SignOriginal George Watson glass negative self-portraitOld Hollywood SignFred Fox image of Universal City from 1924Old Hollywood SignThe then-new Capitol Records BuildingOld Hollywood SignThe then-new Capitol Records BuildingOld Hollywood Signcirca 1950.Old Hollywood SignThe MocamboOld Hollywood SignSome of the hundreds of original lobby cards and film posters in the archive's collectionOld Hollywood SignSome of the thousands of old Hollywood negatives in the collectionOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s uncle George Watson (center) in the L.A. studio. Note print dryer in the background.Old Hollywood SignThe vintage print dryer seen in the last slide.Old Hollywood SignNegatives from Delmar’s booksOld Hollywood SignGlass negativesOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of Richard Nixon on Election DayOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of a penny-farthing bicycleOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of Billie Jean KingOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of Billie Jean KingOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of Grauman's Chinese TheaterOld Hollywood SignOriginal prints of the Brown Derby restaurantOld Hollywood SignThe erecting of the Hollywoodland signOld Hollywood SignCrossroads of the World in HollywoodOld Hollywood SignA collection of books relating to the photo subjects.Old Hollywood Sign1920s image of the Hotel ClarkOld Hollywood Sign1929 magazine photo of the Hollywood HillsOld Hollywood SignThe Brown DerbyOld Hollywood SignMickey Rooney and Judy Garland on setOld Hollywood SignThe Watson Family at their Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonyOld Hollywood SignHollywood Walk of Fame plaqueOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s office wallOld Hollywood SignCalculatorsOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignDelmar’s officeOld Hollywood SignThe archives' foyerOld Hollywood SignHallwayOld Hollywood Sign

In 1967, pioneer L.A. news photographer Delmar Watson established the Watson Family Photo Archive in a two-story building on Hawthorn Avenue in Hollywood. Over the decades, the archive grew to hold hundreds of thousands of photographs and negatives, including many of early L.A. and vintage Hollywood, and became a popular source of historical images for filmmakers, authors and private collectors. The collection gradually outgrew the Hollywood space and, in 2007, the Watsons moved the massive hoard to its current, more spacious location on Glenoaks Boulevard.

Delmar's wife, Antoinette, has overseen the archive since her husband died in October 2008. But after nearly 50 years, Antoinette announced that she's selling both the archive and the building that's housed it. 
Here's a look inside. All photos by Star Foreman.