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Of note is the complete unpublished manuscript for The Eye Beyond, a book project Bernhard conceived of in the 1960s, based on the idea of the camera as a tool of self-exploration.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

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:

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

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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)