Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Hall, Douglas Kent.
Douglas Kent Hall Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1950s-2011 (mostly 1970-2000)
102 boxes and 1534 digital files
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-18; 21-29
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 19-20; 30-102


Douglas Kent Hall was an American writer and photographer active from the 1960s until 2008. This collection contains manuscripts, negatives, contact sheets, prints, transparencies, notes, research files, written reviews of Hall's work, and correspondence relating to a number of published and unpublished writings and photography projects spanning Hall's entire career.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Douglas Kent Hall Papers document approximately fifty years of the creator's life and contain materials relating to the two major aspects of his work: creative writing and photography. The collection includes manuscripts, notes, and research files as well as black-and-white negatives, contact sheets, color transparencies and prints for almost all of Hall's published and unpublished writings and photography projects. Audio and visual materials are included in a number of magnetic and optical formats (cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and one 45rpm vinyl record). There is also handwritten and typed correspondence relating to those projects, and more general correspondence ranging from personal letters to business dealings with galleries. Unassociated and contextually ambiguous materials are also included.

A great majority of Hall's creative writing is present, consisting of books, plays, articles, essays, screenplays and teleplays, poetry, and short stories from his time as a student up until his death. There are drafts of major publications including his first novel On the Way to the Sky (1972) and Let 'Er Buck (1973), as well as the interviews and research behind the documentary The Great American Cowboy. A majority of the series consists of unpublished drafts and related materials that are usually thematically related to other writings and photography projects that Hall was developing concurrently. Other creative writings include a number of autobiographical short stories, freelance articles and reviews, a large amount of unpublished poetry, and many unproduced screenplays.

The creative bulk of the collection consists of at least 96,000 unique images in the form of black-and-white negatives, contact sheets, color transparencies, and prints spanning Hall's forty years of photography. Major subjects include rock and roll stars from the 1960s and early 1970s (including Jimi Hendrix and The Who), the American southwest (including rodeos, mission churches, border residents, and Native dances), poets and artists (including Mark Strand, Allen Ginsberg, W. S. Merwin) and photographic studies of subcultures including bodybuilding (with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno), prison life, drag racing, dance, and cowboy lifestyles. Locations photographed include the U.S.-Mexico border, the American West, New Mexico, New York City, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. Since a number of these projects were developed as publications, the photographs are accompanied by manuscripts, notes, research files, and correspondence related to their production.

The collection is organized into four major series with additional subdivisions.

Collection Creator Biography:

Hall, Douglas Kent.

Douglas Kent Hall was born on December 12, 1938, in Vernal, Utah, a rural community approximately two hundred miles from Salt Lake City. Hall spent his youth in Utah on a family farm where he developed a deep interest in the world of cowboys and rodeo from a very young age. He began writing while in high school and went on to study Creative Writing at a number of institutions before earning his BA in English at Brigham Young University in 1960. Hall then received his MFA from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1964, and began teaching.

In 1965, Hall began experimenting with photography and he studied technique for the next two years. Some of Hall's earliest work is the result of his photographing his poet and writer friends while teaching at the University of Portland from 1964-1967. Freelance photography soon proved lucrative and in 1967 he began photographing for promotional and advertising companies and contributing text to magazines. That same year, Hall left academia and began a tour of Europe, later residing in London. He returned to the United States in 1969 and settled in New York City in 1971, where he had his first photography exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974.

Hall's continuing interest in creative writing defined most of his early career and he published four novels and six photography books in the 1970s. Not limited to books, Hall also wrote an Academy Award-winning documentary about rodeo (his longtime interest) and a number of other unproduced screenplays. His novels from this time were often autobiographical and centered around his rural Mormon-influenced childhood, while the photography books explored subcultures to which Hall found himself drawn or incidentally introduced as an adult, such as rock and roll, bodybuilding, and prison life.

In 1977, Hall relocated from New York City to New Mexico, a move that would influence the next thirty years of his work. His subsequent proximity to the American southwest and border region, with its local environs and people, resulted in at least ten major publications and projects from the 1980s through the 2000s. As many if not more unpublished photography projects were also developed in this time, often based on travel to Russia, Japan, England, Brazil, and Australia.

Hall continued to photograph, travel, write, and exhibit up until his death. Douglas Kent Hall died on March 30, 2008. He was survived by his wife Dawn and son Devon.

Collection History


Gift of Douglas Kent Hall in 1972 and 1975 , and of Dawn Hall in 2010 (AM 2011-10), 2011 (AM 2012-6, AM 2012-21), 2012 (AM 2012-86), and 2015 (AM 2016-41).

The 16 prints of Los Matachines de Alcalde (formerly WC066) were a gift of David McAlpin, Princeton Class of 1920.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Approximately 10,000 strips of negatives (35mm and 120mm) and approximately 11,000 35mm slides were re-housed in archival mylar pages.

This collection was processed by Valerie Addonizio in 2010-2011 with assistance from Lisa Yankowitz '13. Finding aid written by Valerie Addonizio in 2011.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from Dawn Hall, the Estate of Douglas Kent Hall, 1716 Camino Gusto NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Douglas Kent Hall Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-18; 21-29
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 19-20; 30-102