Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Photographic Work and Publicity, circa 1920s-2010 (mostly 1962-2005)

13 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series includes any photographic work and publications produced by Ruth Bernhard that are included with the papers, as well as publicity materials related to her activities as a professional photographer. This series documents the appearance of Bernhard's photographs in her own portfolios and monographs, as well as in major publications, advertisements, and exhibitions, with a single image often appearing and reappearing in these various contexts throughout its lifespan. Some items, such as her publicity folios, provide both evidence of her photographic work in print, as well as her efforts to promote and publicize it. Due to this overlap, and to the fact that Bernhard often stored these materials together, this series includes both works and publicity in order to preserve context.

Photographic work includes a few small reproduced prints of several of Bernhard's photographs, two copies of her Portfolio One: Nudes (1968), an artists proof and mock-up for The Gift of the Commonplace (1996), and a copy of the first galleys for Ruth Bernhard: The Eternal Body (1994). Also included are duplicate portfolio folders for The Eternal Body (1976), The Gift of the Commonplace (1976), and Ten Photographs: 1930-1976 (1982).

Additionally present are posters, postcards, invitations, brochures, and other publicity materials advertising exhibitions, gallery shows, publications, and events showcasing Bernhard's photography. Several large publicity folios, organized chronologically, contain clippings from newspapers, magazines, and other media referencing Bernhard and her photography from the early 1930s until the mid-1990s. A group of video tapes (VHS and 3/4 formats) with recordings of interviews, events, and awards ceremonies related to Bernhard's work as a photographer is also included.

Researchers should note that Bernhard's original silver gelatin prints and negatives are held by the Princeton University Art Museum. It should also be noted that Bernhard quit taking photographs in 1976 due to loss of concentration after her carbon monoxide poisoning accident. At this time, she also threw out many of her 8 x 10" negatives, especially her commercial work, which accounts for the absence of these materials in the papers.


Materials are grouped by format.

Collection History


Nothing was discarded or transferred in the processing of this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in January - February, 2014. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in February - March, 2014, using item description provided by Emily McVeigh of the Princeton University Art Museum in 2013. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding in 2016

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright and literary rights for materials in this collection that were created by Ruth Bernhard are held by the Trustees of Princeton University. 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, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, 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. 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 a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting 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:

Series 2: Photographic Work and Publicity; Ruth Bernhard Papers, C1468, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
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Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 23-35

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Related Materials

Ruth Bernhard's photographic archive is held by the Princeton University Art Museum. Her working library is available in the Rare Books Collection.

Margaretta K. Mitchell Working Files on Ruth Bernhard (C1591)