The images in this topic provide a glimpse into the daily lives and changing lifestyles of California's Hispanic Americans during the 1940s, 50s, 60s,and 70s, as the nation moved from the World War II years to the era of social reform. These formal portraits and snapshots reflect family life, culture, and religious celebrations.
These photographs from the 1940s through the 1970s show Hispanic Californians at home, at work, and at play. Family groups and couples posed for snapshots and formal portraits, and took photographs to commemorate important life passages: first communions, weddings, birthdays, and funerals. And they shared celebrations of cultural traditions: a Cinco de Mayo parade, a Las Posados procession, and piñatas, which soon made their way into homes and parties outside the Hispanic community.
Photographs taken at home and work during the 1950s show people in candid and posed shots. At home, Daniel Correia poses in front of the corn growing in his Anaheim garden. The Valles family poses in front of their ice cream truck (the sign shows that snowcones cost 10 cents). Erlinda Aparecio hangs laundry to dry in her yard. In an image from 1947, a customer purchases goods at a shop located near the Chavez Ravine bus terminal. A 1951 photograph shows women standing on the steps on a home in Chavez ravine, a Los Angeles barrio that was razed a few years later to build Dodger Stadium.
The images also show participation in sports. The 1946 group portrait of the La Palma Elementary School softball team features the coach, identified as “Mr. Jimenez, possibly the first Hispanic coach in Anaheim.” And a La Raza-style silkscreen poster from the 1970s promotes “The 2nd Annual Chicano Softball Tournament.” Another image shows the beginning the “Run for the Arts” race, sponsored by a Chicano Arts group.
This collection of images portrays both Hispanic cultural influences on American culture and the influence of American culture on new immigrants, and the vibrancy of the Hispanic influence on politics, culture, and art in California.
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Hispanic Americans: Everyday Life curated by University of California staff, available under a CC BY 4.0 license. © 2009, Regents of the University of California.