Hollywood's history is displayed by these photographs, which date from 1880 to 1990, and covers more than 125 subjects. During the past thirty years, the collection has been used by numerous publishers, businesses and individuals including Steven Spielberg, Disneyworld, Paramount Pictures and many authors and researchers. This site is very user friendly and offers the viewer an insight to Hollywood's illustrious history.


Bruce Torrence began his collection in 1972 with about thirty photographs. During the following thirty-three years, Bruce amassed over 12,000 photographs along with hundreds of books, brochures, periodicals and memorabilia of Hollywood. In 1979, Bruce's book, HOLLYWOOD: THE FIRST 100 YEARS was published. This 286-page coffee table book was the first to chronicle the history of the world's most famous community. Fully indexed, this masterpiece is richly illustrated with 325 historic photographs, many of which had never previously been published. Currently, Bruce is penning a book on another Hollywood legend -- the Hollywood Canteen.


Daeida Wilcox,

The distinction of giving Hollywood its name goes to Daeida Wilcox. She and her real estate developing husband, Harvey Wilcox, came from Kansas to Los Angeles in 1883 and in 1886 purchased 120 acres in the Cahuenga Valley at, what is now, Hollywood Blvd. and Cahuenga Ave. The following year, Daeida traveled by train to her old home in the east. On the train, Mrs. Wilcox met a woman who described her summer home, which she called Hollywood. Daeida was so enamored with the name that, when she returned home, she prevailed on her husband to name their property Hollywood. The following year, in 1887, Mr. Wilcox recorded the areas first real estate subdivision, which he appropriately called HOLLYWOOD.


Shortly after the turn of the century, the residents of the Cahuenga Valley were faced with three pressing problems. The streets were not getting the attention in proportion to the tax being levied by the county; a lack of school facilities and a growing sentiment for prohibition. In August, 1903, a petition was submitted to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors requesting the incorporation of the City of Hollywood. The election for city hood was held on November 14, 1903 with voting lasting until 5:00 PM. After all the ballots were counted, the vote was eighty-eight for incorporation and seventy-seven against. Hollywood became a city of the sixth class with geographic boundaries extending from Normandie on the east, to Fairfax on the west, and from the top of the Santa Monica Mountains on the north to DeLongpre and Fountain avenues on the south. City hood for Hollywood only lasted six years. Hollywood's population had grown too rapidly for the then existing water and municipal facilities. Annexation to the City of Los Angeles would assure the burgeoning community of adequate water, sewage and municipal services. The election, held in 1910, was an overwhelming victory for annexation.

Hollywood, 1910


Hollywood Sign Photos

Unquestionably, the most recognized Hollywood icon is the Hollywood sign. Constructed in 1923 by the Hollywood Realty Company, the original sign contained thirteen letters, which read HOLLYWOODLAND.

For twenty-six years, it remained an advertisement sign for the Hollywoodland real estate development, which lay in the foothills, just below the sign. By 1949, the sign was in extreme disrepair and the letter H had fallen face down. The County of Los Angeles, agreed to repair the first nine letters and remove the last four. Ever since, the sigh has read HOLLYWOOD.

View All Hollywood Sign Photos


Hollywood Canteen

Shortly after the United States entered World War Two, John Garfield spoke to Bette Davis about establishing a place for servicemen to go while on leave in Hollywood. They solicited the assistance of Dr. Jules Stein and leased an old red barn on Cahuenga Ave., just south of Sunset Blvd.

With task committees formed and materials gathered, hundreds of skilled volunteers from all the Hollywood studios unions and guilds remodeled and equipped the building. Known as the Hollywood Canteen, its grand opening, on October 3, 1942, was tailored like a premiere at the Chinese Theater. Except for the hundreds of studio volunteers, only servicemen were allowed in the Canteen -- their uniform being their ticket to admission.

During the course of its three years existence, the Hollywood Canteen was home away from home to more than three million servicemen. Unquestionably, the Canteen was this countrys finest home front establishment.

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One of Hollywoods finest and most famous eateries, the Brown Derby on Vine St., was opened on Valentines Day, 1929 in a building erected by Cecil B. deMille. Founded by Herbert Sanborn,, he hired Robert H Cobb who, after Sanborns death, acquired ownership of the restaurant.

With a collection of caricatures of movie stars hanging on the walls and excellent cuisine, the Derby became immensely popular with both motion picture personalities and the general public.

The Brown Derby can take credit -- or the blame, for the introduction of telephones at tables during mealtime. Telephone lines, to each table, were installed so busy executives could conduct business while dining. Named after is famous owner, the Cobb Salad was first introduced at the Brown Derby. The Derby continued as one of Hollywood's finest restaurants, closing its doors in the early 80s after a half a century of service.

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Hollywoodphotographs.com is the largest photo collection on the subject of Hollywood.  From Hollywood’s humble beginning, at the turn of the 20th century, photographers began taking pictures which chronicled Hollywood’s explosive growth.  Hollywoodphotographs has over 12,000 of these fabulous photos

Most people don’t know there are two Hollywoods -- there’s the “celluloid” Hollywood which consist of actors, actresses, film producers, directors, television stars and related entertainment.  This is the Hollywood that people think of when they hear the word “Hollywood”.  But there’s another Hollywood -- this is the “brick and mortar”  or physical Hollywood that  consist of theaters, streets, movie studios, restaurants, office buildings, hotels, houses, etc.  

Until 1903, the area known as Hollywood was called the Cahuenga Valley and consisted of small farms with orchards and fields.  Most of the single family residences were located on, or around, Prospect Ave (now Hollywood Blvd.)  In August 1903, the residents of the Cahuenga Valley held an election and voted to incorporate as a city and they chose “Hollywood” as the name for their small community. This name was selected after Daeida  Wilcox named her Cahuenga Valley property “Hollywood”, in 1886. The following year, her husband, Harvey, recorded the areas first  real estate subdivision map.  After a few years, the population of Hollywood had grown too large for the then water and municipal facilities.  Annexation to the City of Los Angeles seemed to be the only solution.  In 1910, another election was held with an overwhelming victory for annexation to L.A.

Today, Hollywood is an official district or geographic area within the City of Los Angeles.  Assembly Bill 588 was approved by the Governor of California on August 28, 2006 gave the district of Hollywood official borders.  The borders can be loosely described as the area east of West Hollywood, south of Mulholland Dr, West of the Golden State Freeway and north of Melrose Ave.

After annexation to the City of Los Angeles in 1910, Hollywood continued to grow at a modest pace until the early motion picture companies discovered what Southern California had to offer.  Great weather and an extensive variety of scenery beckoned these movie pioneers to head west to make their one and two reel films.  The first film company to make it to Hollywood was the Nestor Film Company, of Bayonne, New Jersey. The arrived in October, 1911 and rented the now defunct Cahuenga House (also known as the Blondeau Tavern) on the northwest corner of Sunset Blvd. and Gower Street.  The place had an immediate appeal to the small troupe of film makers. It had a barn, twelve small rooms and a five room bungalow.  The corral could stable horses used in western pictures: the small rooms could become dressing areas and the bedrooms for the staff and the bungalow was perfect for executive quarters.  Movies were made and the negatives sent back east for processing and distributing to the theaters.  It wasn’t long before other film companies learned about the Southern California scenery and stable weather.  Within three years, there fifteen motion companies with studios in the Hollywood area.   

Hollywood was quickly becoming the filming hub of the country.  Motion picture companies that were headquartered back east closed their east coast facilities and moved everything to California.  In addition to Hollywood, motion picture companies were establishing studios in such California places as Culver City, Edendale and the San Fernando Valley.  By the mid-1920s, motion picture companies such as William Fox, Universal , Samuel Goldwyn, Pickford & Fairbanks, and Paramount were the dominant players in the movie business. 
Shortly after the motion picture studios started calling Hollywood “home”, Hollywood  began  experiencing enormous growth. Where residences once stood on Hollywood Blvd., commercial buildings were being erected to meet the increasing demand of the new citizens.

No other city in America saw such burgeoning growth as Hollywood did during the ‘teens, ‘20s and ‘30s.  This rapid growth was due, almost exclusively, to the  of the explosive expansion of the motion picture industry. It wasn’t long before Hollywood was the entertainment  capital of the world.  In addition to the numerous movie studios in Hollywood, radio stations were playing an important role in entertainment industry.  NBC  established a large studio at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Vine Street while CBS located just down the street, on Sunset Blvd.

As Hollywood grew , so did the demand for all the usual, and not so usual, businesses and services.   New restaurants, hotels, churches, schools, hospitals, theaters, streets, residential  developments, stores, and entertainment venues were built to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the growing public.

During the “Golden Age” of Hollywood (1930s and 1940s), Hollywood was truly the glamor capital of the world.  Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Pantages Theater and Grauman’s Egyptian Theater were built in the ‘20s and ‘30s and were among the most beautiful in the country.  Glamorous restaurants and nightclubs began popping up to meet the public’s insatiable desire for fine food and “nightclubbing”.  Eateries such as the Brown Derby, Romanoff’s, Chasen’s and Musso & Frank Grill were among Hollywood’s favorites.  Ciro’s, Mocambo, Cafe Trocadero, Coconut Grove and Earl Carroll Theater were just some of Hollywoods most beautiful and exciting nightclubs. 

One of Hollywood’s most popular attractions is the Hollywood Bowl.  This natural amphitheater was carved into the hillside in 1921 and has hosted such entertainers as The Beatles, Nat King Cole and Elton John.  

Hollywood is over 100 years old and Hollywoodphotographs has chronicled its remarkable history in wonderful photos.  The collection is divided into ninety subject categories for easy selection and viewing.  Some of the most popular subjects include the Hollywood Sign, Restaurants/Nightclubs, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Canteen and Studios.
All the photographs are available for purchase for either personal or commercial use.