Skip to main content

McGraw Colorgraph Company collection

Identifier: AG 22

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 1940s - 1984


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

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 the 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.


53 Boxes (50 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Records, circa 1940s-1984, of the McGraw Colorgraph Company, Burbank, California. Includes business and lab records, books and pamphlets, negatives, fine prints, work prints, artifacts, and photographic equipment relating to photographic processes and formulas, research programs, and patents related to the company in its production of carbro prints, tricolor commercial processing and one-shot color cameras.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1950-1973, (.5 linear feet)
  2. Series 2: Activity files (7 linear feet)
  3. Series 3: Photographic materials (34.5 linear feet)
  4. Series 4: Prints (13 linear feet)

Custodial History

Gift of the McGraw Colorgraph Company, 1984.

Processing Information

Collection inventoried and arrangement created by C.R. in 1985.

Collection further processed and finding aid updated by Alexis Peregoy in 2016.

McGraw Colorgraph Company collection circa 1940s - 1984
Finding aid updated by Alexis Peregoy
© 2016
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