A Finding Aid to the Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts Records, 1953-1989, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.morgjean
Creators:
Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts
Dates:
1953-1989
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
0.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts records measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1953-1989. The records include clippings, a transcript of the film The Towers, interview transcripts with the towers' creator Simon Rodia, materials related to the Watts Towers' false restoration, photographic material, and unpublished articles by Jeanne Morgan. The records were compiled by Jeanne S. Morgan, founding member, executive director, and chair (1978-1980) of the Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts records measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1953-1989. The records include clippings, a transcript of the film The Towers, interview transcripts with the towers' creator Simon Rodia, materials related to the Watts Towers' false restoration, photographic material, and unpublished articles by Jeanne Morgan. The records were compiled by Jeanne S. Morgan, founding member, executive director, and chair (1978-1980) of the Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts Records, 1953-1989 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Simon Rodia (1879-1965), a native of Serena, Italy, created the unique sculptural assemblage of the Watts Towers in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Reaching over 100 feet each, the seventeen interconnected sculptural towers were assembled over a thirty-three year period (1921-1954). The Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts was founded in response to plans by the city of Los Angeles to have the towers destroyed. For sixteen years the committee raised money, designed an engineering test to disprove the city's contention that the towers were unsafe. The members also ran an art center that offered free classes to the community. In 1975 the committee assigned the towers and art center to the city of Los Angeles.

Administration
Author
Ashley Boykins
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Jeanne S. Morgan in 1997.
Processing Information
The collection received a preliminary level of processing after donation in 1997. The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared in 2018 by Ashley Boykins, supervised by Rayna Andrews, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Existence and Location of Originals
This collection contains photocopies of photographs and artwork. The location of originals is unknown.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Committee for the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts records, 1953-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Assemblage (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors--California--Watts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculpture -- Conservation and restoration Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Towers -- California -- Los Angeles Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watts (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rodia, Simon, 1879-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morgan, Jeanne S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Simon Rodia Towers (Los Angeles, Calif.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/