Category Archives: Featured

Family Collections on PDHC

Father_of_Myrtle_NicholasPDHC knows that there is a vast treasure trove of local history stored in shoeboxes and computer drives of private individuals in the community that tell a crucial part of the history of Pasadena. We are committed to providing a platform so that these resources see the light of day.  Below is a list of Family Collections that have already been added to PDHC’s database.



Allen Family Collection

Kimball-Lawyer-Parker Collection

Jackie Mezer Collection

Louis Andrew Murillo Collection

Mary Lyle Hill Collection

Mary Schwacher-Sorenson Family Collection

Michael J. Mouat Collection

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Durham Family Collection

Nancy Honsaker Plows Collection

Pasadena Fire Department Photograph Album, 1909-1910

Paul Ayers Collection

Sid Gally Family Collection

Susan Bridges Collection

Ted Bockman Collection

White-Bailey Collection

The William H. Nicholas Family Collection

Are you interested in contributing family photos to the PDHC database? Sign up to receive our emails so you’ll hear about the next public scanning event.  Or, if you can’t wait that long, contact Dan McLaughlin at the Pasadena Public Library to start the process of getting your family collection online!

New Japanese American Collection

Triple J Club 1935PDHC has made a conscious effort to begin to collect artifacts from our rich ethnic history, and we have recently acquired a significant Japanese American collection.
From Meiji Laundry in Pasadena to the San Gabriel Nursery to vegetable farmers in La Puente, Japanese Americans contributed in myriads of ways to the Valley before World War II.  “I was honored to interview twenty-five Niseis,” said Professor Susie Ling of Pasadena City College.  “The transcripts are in this PDHC collection.  I hope I captured some of the contributions of Fujiko Sakiyama Ishizu who went to Berkeley from Alhambra High in 1936; of Yosh Kuromiya who was one of the Heart Mountain resisters; of Chiye Watanabe who could not bury her hero brother, Joe Hayashi, at Forest Lawn because of racial covenants; and of MIS Sho Nomura who still lives in Sierra Madre.”  The oral history collection also includes community activists like Bacon Sakatani of West Covina, the Ted Tajima of Pasadena, and Paul Tsunieshi formerly of Monrovia.  Ling said, “These Niseis tell the story of their parents, tell the story of their internment, and tell the story of their post-war rebuilding.”
The collection also includes several Japanese American photograph albums.  PCC’s Linda Stewart said, “We have some photos from the Pasadena Buddhist Temple established in 1948.  The Shodas had a flower shop near our campus on Colorado Boulevard.  Then we were fortunate to have Elsie Osajima share photos of her father, Jiro Morita, one of the founders of the Pasadena Sister-City Committee.”  Sansei poet Amy Uyematsu shared photographs of her grandfather and Professor Joan Takayama-Ogawa opened a treasure chest of photographs of Meiji Laundry of Pasadena.  Stewart continued, “We encourage others to consider depositing their photographs too.”
“For me,” said Professor Ling, “PCC’s Nisei Graduation and this PDHC Collection are a way to respect our Japanese pioneers. Read the transcripts one by one and feel the layers upon layers of legacy.”

About PDHC – Video introduction

Video Transcript

The Pasadena Digital History Collaboration, or PDHC, is the people and institutions of Pasadena working together to bring the city’s rich history and traditions in one place, and tell the story of Pasadena to the world.

The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Service awarded a grant in 2009 to fund the esatblishment of the PDHC. The PDHC website was then launched in 2010 by three of the city’s premier historical institutions – Pasadena City College Shatford Library, Pasadena Museum of History, and Pasadena Public Library.

We have created a website for all things digital and historical about Pasadena. Photos that were once housed and viewed in separate buildings throughout the city are now available in one website –

On our site, you can view images of: Our world famous Rose Parade and Rose Bowl; along with the Colorado Street Bridge, Old Town, and Pasadena City Hall; natural wonders such as the Arroyo Seco or the San Gabriel Mountains; past man-made marvels like the Mount Lowe Railway, that went from Pasadena to a hotel in the mountains above the city; Dobbins Cycleway, which was an elevated bike trail linking Pasadena and Los Angeles; or Carmelita Park, now the location of the Norton Simon Museum, which you can see every New Year’s Day on television.

But our site contains more than just the collections from Pasadena’s historical institutions.

We have worked closely with volunteers in places that already have a large digital collection, but do not have the resources to catalogue and display them such as the City of Pasadena’s Planning Department. We are also interested in weaving Pasadena family histories into the digital tapestry of the PDHC, collecting photos that have been hidden in family shoeboxes or tucked away in photo albums.

The collection of the PDHC is much greater and deeper because of our outreach efforts to the community of Pasadena, resulting in photos of: the damage caused by a flood, leaving behind a debris flow in Rubio Canyon in 2004; the construction of the Pasadena Towers office complex in 1989;
a family gathering for a Thanksgiving dinner in 1935; the USC-Pitt Rose Bowl game in 1930;
visiting the newly opened Central Library in 1927; a proud florist in front of his family owned flower shop in 1926; mom in front of the family car in 1922; going for a balloon ride in 1914;
early aviation in Pasadena in 1911; or a little girl happy to have her picture being taken in 1903.

So that’s the PDHC. I hope this brief introduction has given you a glimpse of the treasures we have online.

Come visit our website at where you can explore the world of Pasadena history right in your own home. Contact us about possibly donating your own photos to the collection,
or submit an application for becoming a partner of the PDHC.

Please join us in bringing Pasadena’s history to life.