Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 1B: Princeton University Art Museum Files by and about Ruth Bernhard, 1930-2013 (mostly 1930-2006)

11 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This subseries contains files by and about Ruth Bernhard, organized and maintained by the Princeton University Art Museum until their transfer in 2013. These files contain sorted original correspondence, both business and personal, as well as agreements, publicity materials, and other documents related to Bernhard's exhibitions, publications, appearances, workshops, and auctions, organized chronologically within each category. Materials cover most of Bernhard's career, from her early professional work for the Museum of Modern Art's Machine Art catalog in 1934 through the late 1990s.

In addition to personal and professional correspondence, including with other known photographers, this subseries also contains nearly complete chronological runs of exhibition announcements, auction catalogs, articles about Bernhard, and publications and essays by Bernhard. Sizable runs of workshop announcements, brochures, class materials, and student essays are also included.

Due to the artificial nature of these files, correspondence between the Princeton University Art Museum and other parties related to specific subject files on Bernhard are often filed alongside original materials. Also included are files documenting the transfer of Bernhard's archive to the Princeton University Art Museum in 1996, plans for an accompanying exhibition of her work at Princeton in the same year, as well as correspondence with the executors of her estate concerning the archive after Bernhard's death in 2006.

Of note is the complete unpublished manuscript for The Eye Beyond, a book project Bernhard conceived of in the 1960s, based on the idea of the camera as a tool of self-exploration. Though the book never came to fruition in print form, its main concepts were recycled in many of Bernhard's later workshops.


Files are generally arranged by topic, then chronologically. Correspondence is arranged by type, then alphabetically by name of correspondent.

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

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. Copyright and literary rights for materials in this collection that were created by Ruth Bernhard are held by the Trustees of Princeton University.

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:

Subseries 1B: Princeton University Art Museum Files by and about Ruth Bernhard; Ruth Bernhard Papers, C1468, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Boxes 8-17; 79

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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)