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Richard McGraw archive

Identifier: AG 59

Scope and Contents

Series one contains correspondence, dated between 1950 and 1973. Most of the correspondence is with Edward Weston, Brett Weston, and Ansel Adams.

Series two contains activity files, which include materials such as personal papers, notebooks containing exposure times, several books by Richard McGraw, as well as work materials such as stereo mount viewers, glass filters, as well as empty stereo mounts and other materials.

Series three is photographic materials, which contains transparencies, color slides, stereo transparencies, stereo mounts, negatives, contact prints, and prints. All of the nitrate negatives, some of the deteriorated acetate, as well as some unidentified negatives have been isolated in cold storage. Some of the collection is unprocessed or minimally processed and has not been rehoused, including the slides and stereo mounts.


  • circa 1930s-1973


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Conditions Governing Access

The negatives in boxes 9 through 21 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

Richard “Dick” McGraw was born in Sioux City, Iowa, 1905. He was the son of industrialist Max McGraw, president of the McGraw-Edison Company in Chicago. He graduated at Grinnell College in 1927, learned photographic portraiture as an apprentice in a studio in Evanston, Illinois from 1931-32. Upon moving to Sierra Madre, California in 1934, he became fascinated with the desert and for many years photographed in the Southwest landscape. From 1939-1953, McGraw was head of the McGraw Colorgraph company, which produced materials for the tricolor carbro process. He retired in 1954, a year after the company was sold to Carnation, and devoted himself entirely to his creative work.

In 1949, Dick McGraw became interested in stereography and in 1951 was accorded the world’s first one-man show in this medium, which took place at the George Eastman House. A book titled The Stereo-Realist Manual, features a chapter written by McGraw and numerous examples of his work. Other photographs by McGraw have been published in various magazines and annuals of photography.

McGraw was close friends with both Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, as well as a student of Adams, and maintained a style of “pure photography.” McGraw writes: “I am not a salon pictorialist, though I went through such a phase many years ago… my pictures are treated more as abstractions than as ‘documentary’ photographs. No portraits. No pretty pictures. No nudes or kittens or puppies.”

According to Adams in Ansel Adams: An Autobiography, McGraw was a troubled man often in despair of things going wrong, yet was a generous man due to his affluence. McGraw sold part of his land to Ansel and his wife so they could build a house in Carmel and have an “artist community” near Edward Weston. Additionally, towards the end of Edward Weston’s life, McGraw funded the printing of one-thousand negatives that were done by Brett Weston, and the sales were a major financial support for Edward. Dick McGraw died in 1978, from cancer.


63 Boxes (42 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Papers, publications, photographic materials, and equipment of Richard McGraw (1905-1978), photographer and arts patron. Included are notebooks and correspondence with Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, n.d., 1950-1969, 1971, 1973, .5 linear feet/1 box

Series 2: Activity files, n.d., 1934-1939, 7 linear feet/7 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Personal papers, n.d., 1 linear foot/1 box
  2. Subseries 2: Notebooks, n.d., 1.5 linear feet/1 box
  3. Subseries 3: Books, n.d., 1934-1939, 3.5 linear feet/3 boxes
  4. Subseries 4: Work materials, n.d., 1 linear feet/2 boxes

Series 3: Photographic materials, n.d., circa 1930s-1967, 34.5 linear feet/52 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Negatives, n.d., 1930s-1940s, 1966-1967, 9 linear feet/22 boxes
  2. Sub-subseries 1: Nitrate negatives, n.d., 1930s-1940s, 2.5 linear feet/11 boxes
  3. Sub-subseries 2: Unidentified negatives, n.d., 1.5 linear feet/3 boxes
  4. Sub-subseries 3: Glass negatives, n.d., 1.5 linear feet/1 box
  5. Sub-subseries 4: Other negatives, n.d., 1966-1967, 3.5 linear feet/7 boxes
  6. Subseries 2: Stereo mounts, n.d., 2.5 linear feet/3 boxes
  7. Subseries 3: Transparencies, n.d., 10 linear feet/11 boxes
  8. Sub-subseries 1: Mounted transparencies, n.d., 6 linear feet/6 boxes
  9. Sub-subseries 2: Color slides, n.d., 3.5 linear feet/4 boxes
  10. Sub-subseries 3: Miscellaneous transparencies, n.d., .5 linear feet/1 box
  11. Subseries 4: Prints, n.d., 13 linear feet/16 boxes
  12. Sub-subseries 1: Gelatin silver prints, n.d., 3 linear feet/6 boxes
  13. Sub-subseries 2: Cibachrome prints, n.d., 1 linear foot/2 boxes
  14. Sub-subseries 3: Miscellaneous prints, n.d., 9 linear feet/8 boxes
  15. Subseries 5: Photographic material boxes, n.d., 3 boxes

Custodial History

This collection was a gift from the Friends of Photography, Carmel, California, in 1985.

Separated Materials

Nitrate negatives have been isolated in cold storage.

Processing Information

Collection inventory created in 1985. Collection partially processed by archives staff in 2016.

Richard McGraw archive circa 1930s-1973
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2018
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