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LA as Subject Collection

The LA as Subject collection contains material from a selection of L.A. area community-based archives and organizations that were digitized and shared in partnership with CSUDH.

Selected Images

Collection Description

The Historical Society of Long Beach’s Joseph Risinger Photograph Collection consists of 250 printed photographs, and thousands of 4x5 inch negatives. During 2019 and 2020, 1,771 of the negatives were digitized at CSUDH through the LA as Subject Archivist in Residency Project, a select portion of which are shared here. 

His images capture some parts of the city that are not represented in our collection. An amzing photograh reveals the Los Angeles River before the controlled, cemeted channel. Some images reflect mid-century, high-rise housing in Downtown and Alamitos Beach including interiors and ocean views from interior units. There are a series of image of the peninsula and homes located south of Ocean Boulevard in Belmont Shore and in Seal Beach being overtaken by waves. There is also a series of 1950s photos of US Naval Ships with troops on them coming and going from the Naval Station that was in the harbor.

The Risinger’s contribution of images is an outstanding complement to HSLB’s collections. Other HSLB image collections include the Winstead Brothers Collection, Lawrence Inman Collection, the A. C. Brown,  LBRDA, and Julian Hiatt’s Collection, one of Risinger’s photography teachers,. The HSLB also has thousands of photographic prints from the Press-Telegram, decades of the daily paper on microfilm, over 1,000 bound volumes of newspapers. Some of Risinger’s images appear in the Press-Telegram.

Joseph Risinger was born in 1913 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from high school in Sebewaing, Michigan and attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati for two years. Due to the depression he cut short his education and went to work in a sugar beet field with his mother. He worked as a carpenter, a mason, house painter, a machinist, and as part of a threshing crew. After his father’s death the family moved to California. In 1945, he attended the Julian Hiatt Photographic School in Long Beach. In 1949, he was hired as a photographer at the Press-Telegram. He earned 26 prizes for photography including California Publishers Association and Associated Press awards. He went on to teach photography at Long Beach City College. He passed away at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center on March 24, 2007. He was survived by his wife Hazel Elaine (Lampros) Risinger. Following her death, sons Mark and Scott Risinger donated the collection to the HSLB on October 16, 2018.

About the Historical Society of Long Beach

The Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to connect people to the past and to the place they live by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the material history of Long Beach. Through our programs and services, we help develop an inclusive community narrative that gives residents a greater understanding of their role in the story of their neighborhood and their city. The HSLB serves as an important resource for groups and individuals including preservationists, architects, historians, artists, filmmakers, authors, journalists, educators, researchers, students, policymakers, genealogists and the community at large.

Founded in 1962 by a coalition of community leaders and activists, the HSLB began collecting the material history of Long Beach, including maps, photographs, advertising, and other documents that chronicle the City. For more than 30 years the organization was staffed entirely by volunteers. During this time, the HSLB published books with historical photographs on a variety of local topics including the Pike and the 1933 earthquake. The organization was housed in several locations including Rancho Los Cerritos, Rancho Los Alamitos, a senior center and people’s homes until moving into its first public gallery space on Pine Avenue in 1994. In 1996 it hired its first Executive Director.

The HSLB has been located at 4260 Atlantic Avenue since securing a long-term tenancy in 2007. Here we are able to accept large historical collections and adequately store them in a basement vault and archive on the main floor. We participate in the local First Fridays art walk, hold rotating exhibitions, have generous space for researchers, and offer diverse projects and programs.