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Series 12: Photographic Materials, undated, 1936-1974

Identifier: Series 12

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

Series 1, Correspondence, 1933-1978, includes 16 boxes of Correspondence with editors, other photographers, relatives, gallery owners, agents, students, friends, and others. Subjects discussed include publication, exhibition, and sale of photographs; financial matters; teaching positions, workshops, and lectures; photographic essay projects; and a wide range of similar topics relating to Smith's life and photography. Includes both incoming and outgoing letters.

Series 2, Biographical Materials, 1910-1978, includes a vast array of materials related to Smith's life. Compiling of 9 boxes, materials include chronologies of Smith's career, newspaper clippings, personal material related to Smith's life, family, and children, school records, passports and IDs, address books and calenders, yearbooks, family photographs, and photographic albums. Files containing extensive chronologies of Smith's career, passports, divorce and marriage certificates, selective service records, papers relating to the settlement of his mother's estate, and legal papers such as affidavits, summonses, and insurance forms. some medical records, family photograph albums, and school yearbooks are also included.Smith's medical records are restricted.

Series 3, Photographic Essay Project Files, 1937-1978, includes background research material, correspondence, project expense records, writings and layouts for published and unpublished photographic essays as well as commercial work and other projects. Projects that are well documented in the papers include Black Star Publishing Company, 1938-42; War correspondent Files, ca. 1942-77; Pittsburgh Project files, 1953-59; The Big Book Files; Hitachi/Japan Project Files, 1961-62; Aperture Book Project Files, 1969; and Minamata Project Files, 1971-76.

Series 4, Activity Files, 1944-1978, includes material related to Sensorium Magazine, research files, artists, people of interest, events, and other topics of interest. There are also teaching files, membership and association files, grants, and other professional activities.

Series 5, Writings and Interviews, 1943-1978, includes published and unpublished writings by and about Smith and transcripts of interviews with Smith. Many of the writings by Smith are fragments (such as the note cards) or incomplete drafts of articles, fiction, poetry, and plays. General subjects covered include philosophy, politics, justice, art and love. There are also specific comments on photographic technique, photo-journalism, layout, and Smith's intentions in his work. The note cards and other incomplete writings are difficult to date.

Series 6, Exhibition Files, 1944-1978, are related to Smith's exhibitions and comprise of 8 boxes. Brochures, notices, press releases, paste-up and instructions for laying out exhibits, photographs of exhibit installations, and lists of photographs considered for display, and similar material relating to exhibitions of Smith's photographs. There is extensive documentation of the Jewish Museum show, Let Truth Be the Prejudice, 1971, but many of the other exhibitions are represented only by an announcement of poster.

Series 7, Publications and Printed Materials, 1938-1978, includes books, magazines and periodicals, tear sheets, albums and scrapbooks, Minamata publication files, and other publications and printed materials.

Series 8, Financial Records, 1942, 1953-1978, is compiled of 6 boxes related to Smith's finances. Bank and income tax records, receipts, bills, ledgers, correspondence, and similar material related to Smith's personal and professional finances. The financial records are divided into three sections: (1) primary financial records, ca. 1941-78, (2) secondary financial records, ca. 1950-75, (3) records relating to George Orick, Smith's agent, 1959-60. The primary records include receipts for photographic and medical expenses, bank statements and canceled checks, records of his income from teaching, lecturing, and various photographic activities. The secondary records are unsorted receipts and bills for goods and services, including utilities, are supplies, books, records, food and liquor, hardware, and airline tickets. The records relating to George Orick are a combination of Smith's and Orick's files for the period that Orick was Smith's Agent.

Series 9, Artwork and Sketchbooks, includes sketchpads, drawings, and paintings by Smith.

Series 10, Artifacts, Awards, and Memorabilia, includes certificates, medals, and awards. There are also several personal effects of Smith's, including glasses, keys, dentures, a watch, lighters, tobacco pipes, a half smoked cigarette, a pocket knife, and other materials. There is also a typewriter, rubber stamp collection, Japanese vases and dolls, a telephone, suitcase, furniture, and trunks.

Series 11, Audiovisual Materials, undated, 1937-1971, includes music files, audio equipment files, audiotapes and sound recordings, and moving image materials.

Series 12, Photographic Materials, 1938-1978, includes negatives and transparencies which includes Smith's LIFE assignments, early work for other publications, early work by Smith and Nettie L. Smith, specific assignment work such as Pittsburgh, Hitachi, and Minamata, and miscellaneous negatives and transparencies. There are also contact prints, work prints, 35mm slides, photographic equipment and equipment files.


  • Other: undated, 1936-1974


Conditions Governing Access

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From the Collection: 300 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States