The Whittier Public Library's collection of historical photographs consists of photographic prints, physically owned by the library, donated piecemeal by various donors over the years. These are organized by subject, and document the growth of the Whittier community from the late 1880s to the present.
The Shades of Whittier Collection was created in 1999 with funding from the federal Library Services & Technology Act (LTSA). It was part of a larger project of the California State Library called Shades of California, which was inspired by a project of Los Angeles Public Library called Shades of L.A. This collection is the product of Whittier residents opening their photo albums and sharing their lives with the community, and it reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the community, with its depictions of everyday life as experienced by Whittier residents.
In 1941, Frank Garland Swain (1919-1965) photographed Murphy Ranch for a photography class assignment. This collection of 35mm negatives was generously donated to the Whittier Public Library in 2016 by F. Garland Swain’s daughter, Margaret Lewis.
This collection of photographic glass plates was donated to the library by YMCA of Greater Whittier in 2016. The donation was facilitated by Vicki Schramm, longtime board member. The bulk of the collection depicts Whittier YMCA camp, as well as the Barr Lumber Company, which operated in Whittier from 1911 to 1951.
In 2017, the First Friends Church lent the Whittier Public Library photographs and documents from its archives. The Whittier Public Library thanks Pat Garland for her generosity in sharing these items, as well as her help in researching information about them and the church's history.