This database contains 70,000 scanned images from the photographic archive of Southern California Edison (SCE). Spanning the years 1887 through 1975 (with the majority of images from the 1880s-1950s), the archive records key hydroelectric and other projects across the 15 central, coastal and southern California counties served by SCE, the largest electric utility in California. Aside from documenting 28 major Edison projects and the company’s vast infrastructural network, the archive also depicts employee gatherings, streetscapes, billboards, agricultural and other industries, exhibitions, small businesses, sports and recreational facilities, electrical appliances, education and promotional efforts, advertisements, suburban development, and a host of other topics. In short, the archive offers a twentieth century vision of better living through electrification.
SCE employed many photographers to record its myriad activities. The four photographers most prominently represented include: G. Haven Bishop (active ca. 1905-1939), Doug White (active 1940-1954), and Joe Fadler and Art Adams (both active 1950s-early 1970s). The archive also contains photographs created for, and collected by, SCE’s predecessor companies, including Edison Electric, Henry Huntington’s Pacific Light & Power Co., Mt. Whitney Power & Electric Co., and California Electric Power Co., among others.
The database also includes images used to illustrate Iron Men and Copper Wires and The Story of Big Creek, books chronicling SCE’s history. Illustrations for both books can be searched using the “Physical Sub Collection” field in advance search. Note: Images published in these two books that are not the property of SCE are not included in the database.
Please Note: Records have been migrated from a legacy database and have not been checked for accuracy.
For additional information about the archive and its contents, please contact Jennifer Watts, Curator of Photographs, The Huntington Library (firstname.lastname@example.org). Information on the business records of Southern California Edison is available in the Huntington Manuscript Department and via the finding aid posted on the Online Archive of California.