Pierce, C. C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1861-11-22
Death 1946-11-07

Biographical notes:

Charles C. Pierce migrated to Southern California in 1886 and began his photographic career in Los Angeles. In addition to establishing a studio and selling photographic supplies, Pierce also amassed a vast picture library over the course of three decades. Pierce acquired the negatives and prints of other regional photographers, eradicated their signatures from the prints, stamped his name on the verso of the image, and organized the lot into subject files. Some of the photographers from whom he acquired images include Emil Ellis, Parker & Knight, Ramsey, Herve Friend, L.M. Clendenon, George P. Thresher, George Wharton James, and F.M. Huddleston. He advertised the collection as the "C.C. Pierce Collection of Rare, Historical and Curious Photographs, Illustrating California, the Pacific Coast and the Southwest."

From the description of C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs [graphic] , ca.1840-1930 (bulk 1880-1920). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 228769794

Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946) was a pioneer Los Angeles photographer. He came to Los Angeles in 1886 from Chicago because of his health and remained until his death in 1946. Along with two other photographers who accompanied him, he began to document the people and architecture of the area. Pierce also became a collector and dealer in historical photographs of Los Angeles and the surrounding vicinity and he assembled a pictorial record of most of the important civic, commercial, and social events which occurred during the half century after his arrival. The Department of Special Collections acquired the account books for 1909 to 1921 of C.C. Pierce's photographic shop in Los Angeles. The large manuscript ledgers in eight volumes give a detailed listing of his customers and the nature of his business. The Library obtained, in addition to the account books, glass plates and film negatives, some of which are accompanied by prints, of portraits and views taken during the early years of the 20th century. Most are of Southern California scenes; Los Angeles is well represented with views of downtown streets, commercial and civic buildings, and residential areas.

From the description of Photographic collection, ca. 1898-ca. 1915. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 159940544

C.C. Pierce (b. 1825) was an Episcopalian minister, born in Cincinnati and ordained in New York City (1860). He arrived in Placerville, Calif. in March 1861 and preached there for the rest of his life. He was also, for a time, Superintendent of Schools at Placerville, Calif. (1865). Collection contains two photographs of Rev. Pierce; a teaching certificate signed by Pierce as Superintendent (1865); a funeral notice for Mamie Varozza, service conducted by Pierce (1877); a program for U.S. Grant Memorial Exercises at Placerville, service conducted by Pierce (1885); and, a poem eulogizing Pierce by S. Wilton Howard that was apparently read at the former's funeral sometime after 1901.

From the description of C.C. Pierce collection, 1865-1882. (University of the Pacific). WorldCat record id: 37348323

Biographical Note

Charles Chester Pierce was born on November 22, 1861 in Springfield, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Pierce migrated to Southern California in 1886. Pierce began his photographic career in the thriving boom town of Los Angeles, first in partnership with Albert H. Lohn, and then successively with J.B. Blanchard and A.E. McConnell. He established his own studio around 1900 at 313 Spring Street. He moved several times during his career, eventually expanding his business to include the sale of photographic supplies. The most outstanding aspect of his business, however, was the vast picture library he amassed over three decades at work. Aside from making his own photographs, Pierce acquired the negatives and prints of other regional photographers such as Emil Ellis, Parker and Knight, Ramsey, Herve Friend, L.M. Clendenon, George P. Thresher, George Wharton James, and F.M. Huddleston. Pierce eradicated the existing signatures from the photographs, stamped his own name on the images, and organized the lot into subject files. The consequence of Pierce’s business practices assured that most, if not all, of the connections between the images and their original creator are now lost. However, the archive which he advertised as the "C.C. Pierce Collection of Rare, Historical and Curious Photographs, Illustrating California, the Pacific Coast and the Southwest," became an invaluable resource for researchers and boosters alike, all of whom came to Pierce’s shop to locate an image for their purposes.

C.C. Pierce died on November 7, 1946 at the age of 84. His prints and negatives are dispersed at several Los Angeles-area repositories including the Title Insurance and Trust Company (or Ticor) at the USC Regional History Center; the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History; and UCLA Special Collections. In addition, UCLA acquired the account books of C.C. Pierce’s business dealings from 1909 to 1921 (Call # 170/134). The eight volume manuscript ledgers provide a detailed listing of his clients and the nature of the business.

From the guide to the C.C. Pierce Collection of Photographs, ca. 1840-1930, (bulk 1880-1920), (The Huntington Library)

Biography

Charles C. Pierce (1861-1946) was a pioneer Los Angeles photographer. He came to Los Angeles in 1886 from Chicago due to health issues and remained until his death in 1946. Along with two other photographers who accompanied him, he began to document the people and architecture of the area.

Pierce also became a collector and dealer in historical photographs of Los Angeles and the surrounding vicinity and he assembled a pictorial record of most of the important civic, commercial, and social events which occurred during the half century after his arrival.

Library Special Collections acquired the account books for 1909 to 1921 of C.C. Pierce's photographic shop in Los Angeles. The large manuscript ledgers in eight volumes give a detailed listing of his customers and the nature of his business.

The Library obtained, in addition to the account books, glass plates and film negatives, some of which are accompanied by prints, of portraits and views taken during the early years of the 20th century. Most are of Southern California scenes -- Los Angeles is well represented with views of downtown streets, commercial and civic buildings, and residential areas.

From the guide to the C.C. Pierce Photographic Collection, ca. 1898-ca. 1934, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

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Subjects:

  • Clergy
  • Vehicles--California--Photographs
  • Public schools
  • Industries--Photographs
  • Plants--California--Photographs
  • Missions--Photographs
  • Landscape--Photographs
  • Missions--California--Photographs
  • Adobe house--Photographs
  • Cityscapes--Photographs
  • Cityscapes--California--Photographs
  • Industries--California--Photographs
  • Cities and towns--California--Photographs
  • Plants--Photographs
  • Cities and towns--Photographs
  • Animals--California--Photographs
  • Indians of North America--Photographs
  • Agriculture--Photographs
  • Agriculture--California--Photographs
  • Adobe houses--California--Photographs
  • Eulogies
  • Landscape--United States--Photographs
  • Photographers--Archival resources
  • Animals--Photographs
  • Vehicles--Photographs

Occupations:

  • Collector
  • Photographers
  • Photographers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources

Places:

  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Los Angeles (as recorded)
  • Placerville (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California--Placerville (as recorded)
  • California--El Dorado County (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)