birds eye view of Los Angeles

At 25 years of age Williams lives at 784 E. 15th in Los Angeles with wife Della and Emily P. Clarkson who is listed as his god mother in the 1920 U.S. census. Williams describes his occupation as "draftsman at an archtect's office." He soon moves to 1271 West 35th Street—a modest home in the black community of South Central Los Angeles where he lives for 30 years.

In 1920 he is appointed to the LA City Planning Commission by the 23rd Mayor of Los Angeles (Meredith P. Snyder) and serves on the commission until 1928. The city is changing dramatically with the railroads connecting Los Angeles to the rest of the nation. Land is cheap and abundant. Unlike cities in the East that accomodate growth with taller buildings, Los Angeles can spread out. The LA leaders want to plan for the city's future growth with a planning commission.


Mr. and Mrs. Paul R. Williams Assist Ralph Edwards on "This Is Your Life"

"This Is Your Life" is one of the most watched American television programs of the 1950s. An early example of reality TV, celebrities and outstanding citizens are brought to the television studios under false pretext and surprised with a live retelling of their life and accomplishments by people from their past. On October 14, 1953 Mrs. Robert L. Vann, an influential newspaper owner and publisher, is the subject of the live 30 minute broadcast. Williams, along with his wife Della are enlisted to bring the unsuspecting Mrs. Vann to the studio. Mrs. Vann is one of only a few African Americans featured on this program.

Carl Van Vechten

Carl Van Vechten records the faces of American art

Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) is known today as "an artist of varied accomplishment." (Wall Street Journal, March 3-4, 2012) — music and modern dance critic for the New York Times, author of a controversial social novel and photographic portraitist. During his career as a photographer, Van Vechten captures the face of "every black author, performer and socialite of note." Fascinated by the Harlem Renaissance (African American cultural movement of the 1920s and 1930s), he promotes their work with his unique portraits. 

Typically posing his subject in front of a distinctive exotic-print background, Carl Van Vechten produces thousands of images. His work is a who's who of important 20th century African Americans. To be photographed by Van Vechten is to have arrived. His iconic images are used in popular books and textbooks.

Paul Revere Williams is photographed by Carl Van Vechten in the 1930s. 

Pershing County Courthouse

Pershing County Nevada Courthouse

Pershing County, Nevada is created in 1919 from neighboring Humboldt County. The new county commissioners select the state's leading civic architect, Frederic Joseph DeLongchamps, to design their courthouse as proof of their new independence and importance.

The Pershing County Courthouse is one of seven courthouses DeLongchamp designs in Nevada. This neoclassical-style structure satisfies the county commissioners vision of civic pride. The 16,000 square foot, single-story, circle-hexigon shaped building takes its inspiration from both the Roman Pantheon and the University of Virginia Library. The interior contains an unusual layout of a central circular courtroom surrounded by offices.

The Pershing County Courthouse is unique among America's historic county courthouses because of the circle-hexigon shape.