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

Scope and Contents

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

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. 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:

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