Northeast LA Regional History

Oxy and its local communities

Occidental has a commitment to document the history of our local communities. Through our partnerships with community organizations in Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Boyle Heights, we are discovering ways to get residents and Oxy students to explore history, what it means to be a community, and why being part of one is important in building identity. 

Projects include the preservation and digitization of old community newspapers from Eagle Rock and Highland Park, using HistoryPin to share photos and stories about the neighborhoods, and using the Internet Archive's Archive-it service to capture and archive websites of official government organizations, historical societies, neighborhood councils, and individual blogs. Please refer to our Libguide for a list of the websites Oxy is preserving or contact us for more information.

Special Collections is an active participant in LA as Subject, a research alliance dedicated to preserving and improving access to the archival material of Los Angeles history.

The Joe and Henk Friezer Photography Negatives

Photographer Henk Friezer has donated the entire photo negative archive of Friezer Photography to Occidental College Special Collections. The Joe and Henk Friezer Photography Negatives is the collected work of father and son photographers Joe and Henk Friezer, freelance photographers who lived in and built their studio in Northeast Los Angeles. Starting in 1955 and later joined in 1968 by his son Henk, Joe and Henk photographed local community and family events; numerous regional and national business and organizations, including Occidental College; prominent Los Angeles and national figures; and served as the primary news photographers for the Northeast Newspapers chain as well as contributed other regional and international news publications. Spanning over 50 years, the archive  comprising 100,000+ negatives represents over 15,000 photo assignments. Read more in our new research guide, a finding aid written in May 2016 by archivist Joanna Chen Cham during her LA as Subject Residency at Occidental.

News on newspapers

In early 2014, we completed a pilot project, funded by The John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, to preserve and digitize Northeast Los Angeles community newspapers. We worked in collaboration with the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society and the Highland Park Heritage Trust to make these newspapers more accessible and to increase awareness of the history of this culturally and socially diverse region. Follow the progress of this project and future endeavors involving NELA newspapers at our blog and learn more about accessing community newspapers at our new portal.