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Society for Photographic Education archive

Identifier: AG 78

Scope and Contents

The Society for Photographic Education archive has been given the designation of Archive Group (AG) 78. This collection is made up of ten series.

Series 1, SPE Chairperson files, are arranged in order of the terms each person served as chairperson of SPE and comprises four subseries; each contains correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes and agendas, financial records, notes, reports, national conference materials, and other papers concerning the chairperson and the SPE such as drafts of by-laws. Subseries 1 contains files related to Robert Heinecken, Subseries 2 consists of files related to Michael Simon, Subseries 3 consists of papers regarding William E. Parker, and Subseries 4 consists of files related to Martha Strawn’s tenure as chairperson.

Series 2, SPE Board member files, is made up of four subseries and contains papers related to four SPE Board members; materials include correspondence, financial records, meeting minutes and itineraries, reports, and other documents. Subseries 1, Harold Jones files, includes materials related to the SPE National Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1979, for which Harold Jones served as national conference chairperson. Subseries 2, Charles Desmarais files, contains material related to Exposure and SPE publications. Subseries 3, Gretchen Garner files, includes documents related to the publication of Exposure such as copyright registration forms. Subseries 4, Patty Carroll files, includes documentation of SPE activities during the chairpersonships of Martha Strawn and Helmmo Kindermann.

Series 3, Membership records, documents membership, payment of dues, and membership directories between 1963-2011.

Series 4, Publications, contains clippings and copies of SPE publications, including Exposure, the SPE Newsletter, and national and regional conference programs and materials.

Series 5, Conference files, consists of documentation and information regarding the annual SPE conference, including planning materials, correspondence, and program information.

Series 6, Chair files, comprises materials concerning members of the Executive Committee and SPE office staff. These materials include correspondence, memos, financial records, reports, and other papers.

Series 7, Board of Directors, is made up of correspondence, reports, financial records, and other documents from the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and sub-committees.

Series 8, Regional files, consists of regional reports, financial records, conference information, and correspondence from the regional SPE organizations.

Series 9, Miscellaneous materials, contains various materials related to SPE activities, such as photographic materials, brochures, grant and fundraising documents, publication materials, correspondence, reports, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia.

Series 10, Financial records, comprises receipts, correspondence, bank statements, ledgers, and other financial documentation of expenses.

There are three appendices: Appendix A, Executive Committee Members, detailing the chair, vice-chair, secretary, and treasurer of the Executive Committee; Appendix B, Exposure, listing issues of Exposure under their editor; and Appendix C, National Conferences, a chronological list of SPE National Conferences, their dates, locations, and other significant SPE events.


  • Creation: bulk 1975-1991


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Permission of SPE is required to read personal correspondence less than twenty-five years old.

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

Historical Note

The Society for Photographic Education (SPE) is a nonprofit membership organization that provides a forum for the discussion of photography and the expansion of photographic education. Through its various programs, publications, and interdisciplinary services, the goal of the SPE is to promote a broader understanding of photography in all of its forms and to further develop the practice, teaching, scholarship, and criticism within the field. These caucuses also provide an environment to discuss, support, and advance the role of all members of the society. Three caucuses are currently offered to members - LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer), Multicultural, and Women’s, which were created to serve the underrepresented members of a society and to discuss and develop their critical thinking in a safe space.

Nathan Lyons, then associate director at the George Eastman House, first coordinated and hosted a conference in November 1962 in Rochester, New York when he recognized a need to address the newly emerging academic field. The society was born out of a concern from photography educators to expand the opportunity to anyone interested in photography. Among the first educators, Beaumont Newhall, Walter Rosenblum, Arthur Sinsabaugh, Aaron Siskind, Henry Holmes Smith, John Szarkowski, Jerry Uelsmann and Clarence White were all in attendance at the “Invitational Teaching Conference” out of the total thirty attendees.

The first annual national conference was held in Chicago in 1963 and the articles of incorporation were signed in May 1964. Since its establishment, many noted artists, curators, and critics in the field of photography have been involved with SPE or its programs. Now, once a year the national conference is held to attract some of the greatest artists, students, and historians in the field of photography to perpetuate the past, present, and future of photography. SPE continues to grow along with the continually developing art form.


32 Linear Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Reccords, 1963- , of the Society for Photographic Education. Includes correspondence, minutes of board and executive committee meetings, treasurer’s reports, budgets, questionnaires, membership files and directories, conference materials, and national and regional publications, including the journal, Exposure. The bulk of the material documents the period 1975-91. The collection is still active.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1: SPE Chairperson files, circa 1963-1987, 13 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Robert Heinecken files, circa 1963-76, 1 box
  2. Subseries 2: Michael Simon files, 1978-81, 2 boxes
  3. Subseries 3: William E. Parker files, 1977-85, 4 boxes
  4. Subseries 4: Martha Strawn files, 1981-87, 7 boxes

Series 2: SPE Board member files, 1974-1987, 8 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Harold Jones files, 1974-83, 1 box
  2. Subseries 2: Charles Desmarais files, 1977-85, 3 boxes
  3. Subseries 3: Gretchen Garner files, 1980-83, 1 box
  4. Subseries 4: Patty Carroll files, 1981-87, 3 boxes
  1. Series 3: Membership Records, 1963-88, 3 boxes
  2. Series 4: Publications, 1966, 1971-91, 10 boxes
  3. Series 5: Conference files, 1975-2003, 11 boxes
  4. Series 6: Chair files, 1983-1985, 1 box
  5. Series 7: Board of Directors, 1980-2014, 3 boxes
  6. Series 8: Regional files, 1984-2014, 4 boxes
  7. Series 9: Miscellaneous materials, n.d., 1977, 1981, 1983,-1991, 1993-1994, 996, 1999, 2001-2003, 2009-2015, 7 boxes
  8. Series 10: Financial Records, 1979-2013, 11 boxes
  9. Appendix A: Executive Committee Members
  10. Appendix B: Exposure
  11. Appendix C: National Conferences

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In 1985 the Board of the Society for Photographic Education named CCP as the sole and exclusive repository for its archives. This collection began as a gift from the Society in 1986.


  • Society for Photographic Education. (2018). History. Retrieved from

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory prepared October 1986. Revised July 1988, March 1990, August 1992, September 1992, July-August 1998. Finding aid was updated by Tai Huesgen in 2021.

Society for Photographic Education archive bulk 1975-1991
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2020
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