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Focus on Community: The Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado Archive at Stanford

Beginning Thursday May 25, 2023
Green Library, 2nd floor, Rotunda
Stanford University

When Janet Alvarado discovered her father’s photographic equipment and a trove of 4×5 film negatives following his passing in 1976, she made a singular discovery: rare images of the Filipino American world of her father’s young adulthood and of several thriving multicultural communities in the San Francisco Bay Area of the 1940s and 1950s. Focus on Community: The Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado Archive at Stanford celebrates this rich archive by highlighting both Ricardo Alvarado’s unique images and Janet Alvarado’s loving stewardship of her father’s work. The Department of Special Collections is proud to partner with Janet to ensure the continued legacy of these vital images.

Alvarado’s images of the neighborhoods in the greater Bay Area that were predominantly inhabited by Filipino American, African American, Mexican American, and Puerto Rican individuals during the mid-century are unique, revelatory depictions of the social and working lives of these intersected communities. Through Alvarado’s masterful eye and lens, the archive – with its emphasis on themes of migration, work, and community – contributes a seminal visual component to San Francisco, California, and American history; it centers communities that have been peripheral to, or even excluded from, extant visual histories.

Focus on Community includes images created from high resolution scans of Alvarado’s original negatives alongside a rich selection of printed ephemera from the archive, as well as Ricardo Alvarado’s cameras and photographic equipment, generously loaned by Janet Alvarado.

The Stanford Libraries are honored to hold Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado’s archive. The materials on display are cataloged in SearchWorks, Stanford Libraries online catalog, and can be consulted in the Special Collections reading room after the exhibition concludes. A companion digital exhibit and printed catalog are forthcoming later this year.