- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
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- Mitchell, Margaretta
- Margaretta K. Mitchell Working Files on Ruth Bernhard
- Manuscripts Division
- Permanent URL:
- 1952-2001 (mostly 1983-2000)
- 4 boxes
- Storage Note:
- ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-4
Consists of photographer Margaretta K. Mitchell's working files on the life and work of Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006), a German-born American photographer known for her black-and-white still lifes and female nudes. The working files contain research materials, drafts, and recordings and transcripts of interviews for Mitchell's biography of Bernhard, Ruth Bernhard: Between Art and Life (2000); drafts of Mitchell's essays that appeared in Ruth Bernhard's book The Eternal Body (1986); as well as correspondence, proofs, financial documents, and publicity materials related to both projects.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Consists of photographer and author Margaretta K. Mitchell's working files on the life and artistic career of Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006), a German-born American photographer known for her black-and-white still lifes and female nudes. The working files pertain to two of Mitchell's projects involving Bernhard, Ruth Bernhard: Between Art and Life (2000) and The Eternal Body (1986).
A majority of the files relate to Mitchell's 2000 biography of Bernhard, Ruth Bernhard: Between Art and Life. These consist of research materials, drafts, galleys, jacket and page proofs, correspondence, contracts, financial documents, and publicity materials. The research materials include 16 audiocassette tapes containing sound recordings of Mitchell's extensive series of interviews with Bernhard and her associates, including Michael Kenna, Avery McGinn, David Holman, Gwen Evans, and Saïd Nuseibeh. The interviews were conducted between 1997 and 1999 and provided much of the biography's content. These are accompanied by notes and transcriptions. There are also a few photographs and contact sheets of Ruth Bernhard and her friends as well as photographs of her work. Files on various individuals include correspondence with Mitchell regarding Bernhard or the book project, notes and stories submitted to Mitchell, and occasional photocopies of correspondence between Bernhard and her friends and fellow photographers. Mitchell also contributed text for Bernhard's 1986 book of photographs, The Eternal Body. Working files for this project include several drafts of Mitchell's essays "The Nude: Symbol and Light" and "Toward the Light: Biography of Ruth Bernhard," a copy of an autobiographical essay draft by Ruth Bernhard, and related editorial correspondence, notes, announcements, and brochures. There are also a few original letters to and from Ruth Bernhard throughout.
Materials are arranged into two file groups by book project. Within those file groups, original order was maintained.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Margaretta K. Mitchell is a professional and fine art photographer, author, and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds degrees from Smith College and the University of California, Berkeley. As a professional photographer, Mitchell photographs people, gardens, interiors and other assignments, and she exhibits her fine art photography internationally.
Throughout her career, Mitchell has drawn attention to 20th century women photographers, whose contributions had often previously been excluded from major exhibitions and reviews. In 1979, Mitchell published Recollections: Ten Women of Photography and curated a traveling exhibition under the same name, which opened at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City. The book and exhibition showcased the work of ten living women photographers, among them Berenice Abbott and Ruth Bernhard. Mitchell continued her collaborative relationship with Ruth Bernhard for many years; she later composed the text for The Eternal Body (1986), Bernhard's first photographic monograph of nudes, and published the first biography of Bernhard, Ruth Bernhard: Between Art and Life (2000), which was based on her extensive interviews with the artist and her colleagues.
Mitchell's own photography has also been published in various books, including Gift of Place (1969), To a Cabin (1973, in collaboration with Dorothea Lange), Dance for Life: Isadora Duncan and Her California Dance Legacy at the Temple of Wings (1985), Flowers (1991), A History of Women Photographers (1994), English Gardens (1996), The Face of Poetry (2005), and Iconographies (2015). She has also written many illustrated articles for Popular Photography magazine.
Gift of Margaretta K. Mitchell in January 2018 (AM 2018-62).
No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 processing.
- Processing Information
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in January 2018, with assistance from Matt Oakland '20, Fiona Bell '18, and Julia English '19. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding and folder inventory added by Matt Oakland '20 and Fiona Bell '18 in January-February 2018.
Access & Use
- Conditions Governing Access
The 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. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- 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. Patrons may request digital copies of original analog media, but will be responsible for the cost of digital conversion, payable in advance. Turn-around time for such requests will depend on the size and scope of the project. Requests should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form.
- Credit this material:
Margaretta K. Mitchell Working Files on Ruth Bernhard; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Storage Note:
- ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-4
- Subject Terms:
- Biographers -- United States -- 20th century.
Photographers -- United States -- 20th century -- Interviews.
Photography of the nude -- 20th century.
Photography, Artistic -- 20th century.
Still-life photography -- 20th century.
Women photographers -- United States -- 20th century -- Interviews.
- Genre Terms:
- Audiocassettes -- 20th century.
Correspondence -- 20th century
Drafts -- 20th century.
Interviews -- 20th century.
Proofs -- 20th century.
Sound recordings -- 20th century.
- Bernhard, Ruth