8,477 items. 15 boxes plus one rolled item and 38 volumes.
The Los Angeles Paving Company, owned and managed by the Werdin family, was an important business enterprise in 20th century Southern California. Ernest R. Werdin was born in 1869 in Minnesota and moved to Los Angeles in 1886. In 1902, he was elected Superintendent of Streets of the City of Los Angeles, which probably gave him opportunities to establish extensive connections for his future paving business. In 1912, he started the Los Angeles Paving Company. After his death in 1932, his son E. Russell Werdin inherited and continued the business. Over the decades, the Los Angeles Company expanded and it accomplished paving tasks for many families, businesses, and governmental agencies in the region. The company paved many of the streets in Southern California, including Los Angeles' famous Sunset Boulevard. Both Ernest R. Werdin and E. Russell Werdin joined several business-related and non-business-related club and associations. Both were life members of Al Malaikah Temple. Ernest R. Werdin was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. E. Russell Werdin was president of both the Vernon and Carson Chambers of Commerce, and he was active in the Rotary Club for 63 years before his death in 1997. He also graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Commerce in 1932, and later became one of the university's trustees and served as president of the USC Alumni Association in 1960 to 1961.
Scope and Content
The papers provide a unique perspective of 20th century California history and American business history and more specifically, a view of business practices in Los Angeles. The Business Files, the largest series of the collection has 6,436 items. This material includes invoices, receipts, bills of lading, purchase orders, bid requests, bids, statements, and other general account and job information including handwritten notes, drawings, construction plans and diagrams. The Correspondence series contains 768 items. Most of the correspondence is also business-related. The Photographs and Negatives series contains 1,110 items. The photographs (and negatives) include views of jobs (at various stages of completion), plants, machinery, as well as a few aerial views of the company's jobs. The Ephemera series contains 124 items. The series includes: business-related newsletters and bulletins, brochures and publications, newspaper clippings; tax forms, several LA Paving Company related artifacts, a copy of the 1926 Who's who in Los Angeles and a copy of Scratches: a volume of cartoons and caricatures of Los Angeles citizens, 1911 (Ernest R. Werdin is in both volumes). There is also one folder related to E. Russell Werdin's involvement in the USC Alumni Association. The 38 volumes include bid requests, daily job reports, invoices, journals, one photograph album, a plant and shop register, and stock certificates. Some of the more notable clients and companies included in the collection are: American Red Cross; General Motors Company; Mobil Oil Company; Shell Oil Company; Sears, Roebuck and Company; United States Navy; Loyola Marymount University; UCLA; Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company; Ford Motor Company; General Electric Corporation; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Railroad Commission of the State of California; RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Peter Soo Hoo (LA Paving Company paved Gin Ling Way in Chinatown in Los Angeles) ; Southern California Edison; United Artists Corporation; United States Federal Housing Administration; Universal Pictures Company; UCLA; Walt Disney Productions; Southern Pacific Company; and the cities of Glendale and Vernon, California.