Palos Verdes College Photo Collection


The photographs in this collection document the Palos Verdes College, a private, two-year, co-ed, liberal arts college, once located off of Crest Road in the Rolling Hills area of Rancho Palos Verdes. The college opened in September 1947 under the direction of founding president, Dr. Richard P. Saunders, who came to Palos Verdes from New York University. The site of the school was a former Army Air Force base, composed of barrack-like buildings. The site was temporary pending the construction of a large permanent campus on a nearby parcel of land. Due to a lack of funding, a permanent campus was never constructed. The College ultimately closed in August 1955.

Photographs include snapshots and publicity shots. Many photographs were taken by photographer Peter Gowland and architect Harwell Harris. The subjects in the images include buildings, campus scenes, student activities, dormitories and sports.

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"Catalina Island from site of permanent campus (not built)"
"Catalina Island from site of permanent campus (not built)"
Image shows undeveloped hillside land with Catalina Island visible in the background. Flowers in bloom are visible in the foreground along with a large field of cultivated land. Rocky bluffs and shoreline are visible in the middle.
"From Army base to college campus"
"From Army base to college campus"
Image is collection of eight images combined to show different views of the Palos Verdes College.
"Los Angeles plain from crest of Palos Verdes Hills"
"Los Angeles plain from crest of Palos Verdes Hills"
Image shows a road with a white fence and trees on the right. Trees are visible in the middle with Los Angeles in the distance.
"Mtg the Howard's clothes"
"Mtg the Howard's clothes"
Image shows three women and three men in a group talking. Two of the women are wearing sleeveless dresses and one man is wearing a pair of short pants and a hat decorated with a long feather. A dog standing on his hind legs has its front paws on the thigh of the man with short pants. Another black dog is on the right of the image. Two buildings and foliage are visible in the background.
"Room in the girls dorm (Prima Domus), Constance Thornburgh, Year 1948-1949"...
"Room in the girls dorm (Prima Domus), Constance Thornburgh, Year 1948-1949"...
Image shows a woman laying on the lower bunk of a bunk bed listening to a radio. The bunk beds have matching quilted bed spreads. A dresser is placed in front of a window with curtains. The dresser has a clock, a statue of a kitten, a lamp, several framed photographs and other knick-knacks. A calendar is partially visible in the lower right part of the image.
"The Sign Goes Up, Dr. Saunders, Rash and Vanderlip July 28, 1947"
"The Sign Goes Up, Dr. Saunders, Rash and Vanderlip July 28, 1947"
Image shows Dr. Saunders, Winfield S. Rash and Kelvin C. Vanderlip putting up the Palos Verdes College sign., Handwritten on back of image: "The sign goes up. Dr. Saunders, Rash, Vanderlip, July 28, 1947".
"View from permanent campus"
"View from permanent campus"
Image shows undeveloped hillside land with Catalina Island visible in the background. Flowers in bloom are visible in the foreground and patches of cultivated land are visible in the background and in the left foreground., Handwritten note on back of image: "View from permanent site. Land donated by Vanderlip family. College closed before building permanent campus".
1st Annual Founders' Day
1st Annual Founders' Day
Image shows Flo Anne Hedley and Faith Saunders cutting a large multi-tiered cake.
1st Annual Founders' Day Cake
1st Annual Founders' Day Cake
Image shows a large tiered cake with 1st Annual Founders' Day, Palos Verdes College written in icing., Handwritten on back of image: May 1, 1948
Administration of Palos Verdes College
Administration of Palos Verdes College
Image shows Dr. Saunders and 4 administrative staff standing in front of what appears to be a display area for visitors., Handwritten on back of image: "Administration: Clinton Regelin, Eloise Kloke, Dr. Saunders, Dorothy Saunders, John Howard. 11-23-49".
Aerial view looking west of the Palos Verdes College campus
Aerial view looking west of the Palos Verdes College campus
Images shows campus to the right and hillside to the coastline to the left. Two images.
Aerial view of the Palos Verdes College campus
Aerial view of the Palos Verdes College campus
Image shows view of Palos Verdes College in the foreground with cultivated fields and the ocean visible in the background.

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