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Happy 100th Birthday, Los Angeles Aqueduct!

November 5th, 2013 marks the one hundred-year anniversary of the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  Special Collections and Archives celebrates this achievement with the release of the digital collection, Water Works: Documenting Water History in Los Angeles, and the opening of the Catherine Mulholland Collection, donated by author and historian Catherine Mulholland, granddaughter of the Aqueduct’s chief engineer, William Mulholland.

Through the generous support of the Metabolic Studio, a multi-institutional effort has been underway to extend access to historically important materials related to the LA Aqueduct. The Oviatt Library’s Water Works database is a part of that effort, and provides diverse perspectives on the subject. The database includes numerous annual and other reports from 1906 to 1931 from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power regarding the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Owens Valley water, and the Saint Francis Dam disaster of 1928. It also includes materials that are critical of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, local politicians, and businessmen, accusing them of stripping Owens Valley residents of their rightful water resources. Other materials document efforts by citizens to research and resolve ongoing water-related issues and to educate Californians about them. Finally, the database includes William Mulholland's office files, correspondence, photographs, and publications dating from his tenure at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which document the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, as well as the maintenance of water mains and pipelines, rights of way issues, service matters, and expansion of the City’s water distribution system.

The Catherine Mulholland Collection documents Catherine Mulholland's personal and professional life, chronicles the life of her grandfather, William Mulholland, Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and provides a unique perspective for considering the early social, political, and economic history of the greater Los Angeles area. Most significantly, materials contained in this collection document the many complex issues involved in Los Angeles water history, as well as the important roles played by politicians, political movements, private business and industry, civic organizations, and various governmental agencies in the quest to provide water to the city of Los Angeles. Highlights of the collection include Catherine Mulholland’s uncut original manuscript for William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles, early records of the Mulholland Orchard Company, and personal records such as family correspondence, scrapbooks, and photo albums.

Letter from Andrae B. Nordskog to Calvin Coolidge, March 25, 1928. Andrae B. Nordskog Collection.
Cement Team hauls materials to aqueduct construction site near Faremont. Photograph of a mule team with driver and four carts of cement, circa 1908. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
The aqueduct's North Portal Crew. Photograph of workmen with mine carts, circa 1908. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Cover from the First Annual Report of the Bureau of Los Angeles Aqueduct Power to the Board of Public Works,June 30, 1910. Duane Georgeson Collection.
Page 4 from an annotated copy of Los Angeles Times Article, "Owens Valley Resumes Fight for Water, Life" 30 August 1976. Duane Georgeson Collection.
Program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, November 5, 1963. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Table of Contents, William Mulholland and the Making of Los Angeles. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Cover of Mulholland Orchard Company By-laws, December 1927. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Mulholland Orchard Company shareholders documents, December 1927. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Mulholland Orchard Company, Directors' Meeting Minutes, December 1926. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Mulholland Orchard Company stock certificate belonging to Rose Mulholland, March 1927. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Letter from William Mulholland to his children vacationing on Catalina Island, September 5, 1906. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Lillie Mulholland and children at Hollenbeck Park, circa 1898. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
William Mulholland at the American Waterworks Convention, San Diego, California, October 1926. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Snapshot of William Mulholland with his grandchildren, Catherine and Dick, circa 1926. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Booklet, The Romance of Water and Power, by Don Jackson Kinsey, January 1929. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
William Mulholland with daughters, Rose and Lucille, November 5, 1913. Catherine Mulholland Collection.
Last Will and Testament of William Mulholland, April 6, 1934. Catherine Mulholland Collection.

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