- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Steltzer, Ulli
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Ulli Steltzer Papers
- Manuscripts Division
- Permanent URL:
- 44 boxes
- Storage Note:
- This is stored in multiple locations. Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-2; 34-35 ReCAP (rcpxm): Boxes 3-33; 36-44
Contact sheets, negatives, prints, notebooks, research files, manuscripts, and correspondence of Ulli Steltzer, a German-born photographer residing in the United States and Canada since 1953. Materials relate to a number of published and unpublished photography projects spanning Steltzer's career from 1957 until 2008, including her portraits of prominent Princeton intellectuals and her wide-ranging documentary work, featuring American Indian artists of the Pacific Northwest, black communities in the American South, social conditions for migrant laborers and immigrants throughout the United States, and many other rural and tribal communities throughout the Americas and Asia.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The collection consists of contact sheets, approximately 47,000 black-and-white negatives, silver gelatin prints, manuscripts, notebooks, research files, correspondence, pamphlets, and diaries related to a number of published and unpublished photography projects spanning Ulli Steltzer's entire career as a photographer from the late 1950s through 2008, including both her early Princeton portraits and later documentary work. The majority of the collection consists of contact sheets, interleaved with their corresponding negatives, and photographic prints in various sizes, arranged by subject or project. While the majority of negatives are 6x6cm frames of 120 film, some 35mm strips are occassionally present. Most prints in the collection are 8x10" silver gelatin prints, along with a significant group of mounted prints as large as 22x17", as well as occasional smaller formats, slides, and color photographs where noted. Related textual materials accompany photographs, including drafts for books and exhibition catalogs, research notes, travel diaries, interview transcriptions, receipts, bound volumes and pamphlets, and correspondence with publishers, collaborators, and subjects.
Grouped by project, following the chronology of Steltzer's career, the collection includes portraits of prominent Princeton intellectuals, visitors, and their families, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, George McGovern, Adlai Stevenson, Roger Sessions, and Igor Stravinsky; documentary photography depicting migrant workers and urban poverty in New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois; African American communities and civil rights activists in the South, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1968; Hopi, Navajo, and Pueblo tribes of the American Southwest; Native American artists of British Columbia, including extensive documentation of the work of Haida carvers Robert Davidson and Bill Reid; the Cakchiquel people of Guatemala; the Inuit of the North American Arctic; immigrants in Los Angeles; India; Lijiang, Baidi, and Yongning, China; and Cuba and Trinidad.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1923, Ulli Steltzer emigrated to the United States in 1953 with her two children. After teaching music and developing photographs in Massachusetts and New York, Steltzer moved to Princeton in 1957 to accept a job as a professional photographer for the Princeton Packet, whose Tulane Street studio she worked from for much of the next two decades. In addition to taking portraits of many prominent Princeton intellectuals and visitors from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, she also made frequent trips across the United States in her red Volkswagen to photograph and interview African American families in the South, as well as Hopi, Navajo, and Pueblo peoples in New Mexico and Arizona. In 1972, Steltzer relocated her studio to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she befriended several prominent Haida artists, including carvers Robert Davidson and Bill Reid, who would become her frequent collaborators. Steltzer documented the art, culture, and traditions of the Haida and other coastal tribes, as well as the Inuit, with whom she lived for several months. Traveling widely throughout the Americas and Asia during her long career, Steltzer also documented life in Southern California, Guatemala, Cuba, China, and India, with a recurrent focus on immigrant communities and native peoples. Her photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and have appeared in at least a dozen photographic books and collaborations.
Gift of Ulli Steltzer, 2013 .
- Archival Appraisal Information:
Duplicate copies of bound volumes were removed from the collection.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in September - November, 2013. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in November, 2013.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The Trustees of Princeton University hold the copyright for materials in this collection that were created by Ulli Steltzer. When copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from Firestone Library.
- Credit this material:
Ulli Steltzer Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Subject Terms:
- Haida artists -- British Columbia -- Photographs.
Hopi Indians -- Photographs.
Indians of North America -- Photographs.
Inuit -- Photographs.
Navajo Indians -- Photographs.
Women photographers -- Canada -- 20th century.
Women photographers -- United States -- 20th century.
- Genre Terms:
- Black-and-white negatives -- 20th century.
Contact sheets -- 20th century.
Correspondence -- 20th century.
Photographs -- 20th century.
Research notes -- 20th century.
- British Columbia -- Photographs.
Princeton (N.J.) -- Photographs.
United States -- Social conditions -- 20th century.