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Dorothy Norman collection

Identifier: AG 164


Papers, 1875-1969, and photographic materials, 1930s-1960s, of Dorothy Norman (1905-1997), writer, photographer and social activist. Includes extensive research materials and manuscripts related to Norman’s books on Alfred Stieglitz, especially Alfred Stieglitz: Introduction to an American Seer (1960) and Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (1973). The photographic materials consist of negatives, contact prints, and proof prints from throughout Norman’s career including her large files of portraits, her early work in New York City and Cape Cod, and her later work in India and Japan.


  • 1875-1969


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Nitrate negatives have been isolated in cold storage.

Conditions Governing Access

The negatives in boxes 8-10, 14, 24-25 are currently inaccessible due to renovations in CCP's cold storage facility. Negatives will be accessible once the renovation is complete and the negative boxes have been transferred to the new frozen storage space. The estimated date of availability is mid-year of 2023, although not guaranteed. Please be sure to email with any questions or for updates.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement

Biographical Note

Dorothy Norman was born in Philadelphia on March 25, 1905. She was educated at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts (1922-23), and at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1923-25). In June of 1925, she married Edward A. Norman, an heir to the Sears, Roebuck fortune. They had two children, Andrew and Nancy, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1951.

In 1927, Norman visited The Intimate Gallery on Park Avenue in New York City. Soon thereafter, she met Alfred Stieglitz. As their friendship deepened to love, Stieglitz photographed Norman and encouraged her to make her own photographs. He trained her in development and printing techniques, often writing his comments on the verso of her photographs. Norman documented activities and installations in An American Place, Stieglitz’s next gallery. This gave her the opportunity to make portraits of the many artists and writers who were drawn to the gallery. During this period she also photographed extensively in New York City and Cape Cod and created a large body of photographs of her mentor, Stieglitz.

Norman was the publisher and editor of Twice a Year, an arts journal, which appeared from 1938-1948. She wrote a column in The New York Post between 1942 and 1949. After Stieglitz’s death, she published several books devoted to Stieglitz -- Stieglitz Memorial Portfolio (1947) and Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (1973).

Norman was throughout her life an advocate for social change and a variety of liberal causes including Americans for Democratic Action, the New York Urban League, the American Emergency Food Committee for India, the American Citizens’ Committee for Economic Aid Abroad, the Group Theatre, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the early Planned Parenthood Association. Her friendship with Indira Gandhi and several visits to India resulted in a large body of photographs and several books documenting the great social changes in India in the 1950s.

In 1968, Norman donated a large collection of photographs by herself and Stieglitz to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A selection of these exhibited there that year. A larger number of Norman’s photographs exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 1993 accompanied by a book, Intimate Visions: The Photographs of Dorothy Norman.

Norman died on April 12, 1997. Her personal papers and photographic works are preserved in the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Center for Creative Photography.


22 Boxes (12 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Documents, 1875-1952, 1 box
  2. Series 2: Manuscripts, circa 1947-1969, 2 boxes
  3. Series 3: Notes, circa 1940-1960, 3 boxes
  4. Series 4: Photographic Materials, n.d., 18 boxes

Custodial History

Manuscripts in this collection were purchased from Dorothy Norman in 1976. These consist of copies and duplicates of documents in the Norman Collection at the Beinecke Library, Yale University.

Photographic materials were a gift of the Norman Estate in June 1997.

Separated Materials

Nitrate negatives have been isolated in cold storage.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing completed in July of 1984. Updated in June of 1997.

Finding aid for the Dorothy Norman collection 1875-1969
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff. Reprocessed and updated by Elias Larralde in 2022
© 2019
Description rules
Finding Aid Based On Dacs (Describing Archives: A Content Standard)
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid encoded in English

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States