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Research Library Gallery

Historical Library Photos

Photos from the library's history

Library Contact Information

Open by Appointment Only:
   Monday-Friday 10am - 4pm

Phone: 213.763.3268
    Fax: 213.763.3592


Research Library Collections

Scope and Significance of the Collections

The Library collection includes important material not found in other local libraries and is especially known for its historic coverage of certain journals, some of which begin with issues published in the 19th century. The collection contains books and materials from as far back as the 16th century, including unique materials in the special collections. The over 30 special collections of the library include materials from John A. Comstock (past Museum Director) and Frances Runyan (former volunteer and scientific illustrator).

The collections reflect key focuses of the Museum's mission and values, including general reference, research, historical, and special collections. The Library acquires materials in subjects consistent with Museum research and education efforts, often with a focus on the Southern California area and western region of the United States. The Museum's interests often go beyond this geographic setting, however, to include topics of an interdisciplinary and international nature. The Library aims to support general Museum research, practices and operations, and acts in an archival capacity for Museum events, exhibits, and institutional history.

Search the Library's Online Catalog.



  • Maps
  • Rare Books
  • Special Collections
  • General reference and research

Featured Artist:


Frances Runyan

Frances Runyan has been affiliated with the Museum for many years, working closely with the Botany department and teaching courses in botanical artwork. The Frances Runyan Collection includes a photographic portrait of Ms. Runyan and an extensive set of her original black-and-white and hand-drawn prints. Runyan's artwork features mushrooms, plants, and Meso-American artifacts created as a variety of pencil, pen-and-ink, and watercolor illustrations.

To view the Frances Runyan virtual exhibit visit the Gallery page.