Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Bunnell, Peter C.
Peter C. Bunnell Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1857-2018 (mostly 1960-2018)
105 boxes
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-93; 97-105 Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001326 to B-001328


This collection consists of the papers of photography historian, professor, author, and curator Peter C. Bunnell, spanning his student and professional career from the 1950s to 2018. Materials include subject files, correspondence, photographs, publications and drafts of publications, among other items.

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection consists of materials relating to Peter C. Bunnell's work as a historian and professor of photography, an author, and an active member of organizations related to photography. The bulk of the collection includes subject files, which cover photographic topics, photographers, students, lectures, photography collections, galleries or museums, and organizations related to photography. The materials in these files include press releases, exhibition announcements, and other exhibition promotional material; typewritten and handwritten notes; correspondence with photographers and colleagues from various institutions; copy prints and negatives; organizational memos, meeting minutes, and agendas; and journal articles and news clippings. A significant part of Bunnell's files throughout his career focused on Minor White, Clarence H. White, Alfred Stieglitz, and Ansel Adams, but many modern photographers are represented. Subject files from his involvement in several institutions over the course of his career include the Museum of Modern Art and the George Eastman House, among others.

The correspondence files span Bunnell's time as a student and throughout his career. Major correspondents include Ruth Bernhard, Jerry Uelsmann, Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, and Van Deren Coke.

The rest of the collection includes file groups dedicated to the Friends of Photography and the Society for Photographic Education, which include memos, meeting minutes, agendas, correspondence, newsletters, policies and procedures, and financial reports; drafts and final versions of publications that Bunnell wrote or edited, including A Photographic Vision: Pictorial Photography, 1889–1923 (1980) and Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 1952–1976 (2012); and photographs from Bunnell's retirement dinner in 2002.


The materials are arranged into seven file groups, maintaining original order. Materials related to a certain person or organization are often found across several series.

Collection Creator Biography:

Bunnell, Peter C.

Peter C. Bunnell is a historian of modern photography and the McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art Emeritus at Princeton University. He was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1937. Bunnell attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for his undergraduate degree. He then went on to receive graduate degrees from Ohio University in 1961 and Yale University in 1965. During his years in school, Bunnell worked at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, at Aperture Magazine with Minor White, and the Alfred Stieglitz Archive at Yale. Bunnell began working at the Museum of Modern Art in 1966 and was appointed Curator of the Department of Photography in 1970.

Bunnell began his professorship at Princeton in 1972 and retired in 2002. While at Princeton, Bunnell took on several roles at the Princeton University Art Museum between 1973 and 2000: Director, Acting Director, and Curator of Photography. Also during this time, Bunnell served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Photographic Education and the Board of Trustees for the Friends of Photography, a nonprofit founded in part by Ansel Adams. He was also involved in other visiting committees, associations, and activities related to photography.

Collection History


Gift of Peter C. Bunnell in April 2019 (AM 2019-109).


No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Alice Griffin in June 2019 with support from Kelly Bolding. Finding aid written by Alice Griffin in June 2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research with the exception of files containing student records, which are closed for 75 years from the date of creation. All material in the Subject Files must be reviewed for student records prior to research use.

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. The Library owns copyright in this collection of unpublished writings and documents, including text drafts, research notes, interviews, letters written by the Donor, and teaching materials. 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.

Credit this material:

Peter C. Bunnell Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. ReCAP (scarcpxm): Boxes 1-93; 97-105 Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001326 to B-001328