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Willard Van Dyke miscellaneous acquisitions collection

Identifier: AG 97

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of two subgroups, collected from separate sources at different times.

Subgroup 1 contains twelve photocopies of letters and notes (1984-1985) from Willard Van Dyke to Susan Zielinski, Program Coordinator at the Office for the Arts at Harvard and Radcliffe. Also included is one photocopied clipping and one photocopied letter from Van Dyke’s daughter to him. The letters are general in content.

Subgroup 2 consists of the research files of Leslie Squyres Calmes for the publication Archive 30: The Letters Between Edward Weston and Willard Van Dyke, Center for Creative Photography, 1992.


  • 1984-1992


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

Permission to read correspondence less than twenty-five years old must be obtained from the holder of literary rights. See Archivist for information.

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

Willard Van Dyke born December 5, 1906 in Denver, Colorado. The family settled in Los Angeles, California in 1916. Van Dyke attended University of California, Berkeley and began to photograph seriously in 1927. During the late 1920’s he met Edward Weston, with whom he travelled and photographed on two occasions. Van Dyke, along with Weston, Ansel Adams and others founded Group f64 in 1932. Van Dyke exhibited with the group and had solo exhibitions at various galleries. He made his first film, now lost, a result of a 1934-1935 trip with WPA photographer Dorothea Lange and others. He moved to New York City in 1935 and photographed commercially for prominent publications. In 1937, Van Dyke worked on his first professional film, The River, and founded American Documentary Films, Inc. with Ralph Steiner. Van Dyke became a full-time filmmaker/producer, giving up still photography. As a result of their film The City, Steiner and Van Dyke came to be considered the fathers of documentary filmmaking. Van Dyke continued to make documentary films in the role of cameraman, director, producer, or script writer until 1968.

In 1964, he was appointed director of the film department at the Museum of Modern Art where he worked until his retirement in 1974. While at MoMA Van Dyke developed film series, established preservation programs, a Film Study Center and film forums. He also curated MoMA’s 1975 Edward Weston retrospective exhibition. From 1972-1981 he taught film production at SUNY Purchase, NY, established a film department, and became Department Chair. He returned to still photography in 1977, worked in color for the first time, and began exhibiting at various galleries. In 1979 and 1980 he received Ford Foundation Fellowships to photograph in Ireland. He moved to Santa Fe in 1980 and continued to exhibit and give lectures around the country. In 1986 while on the road, he suffered his fourth myocardial infarction and died January 23 in Jackson, Tennessee.


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Metadata Rights Declarations

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


This collection contains miscellaneous materials (1984-1992) documenting the life and career of Willard Van Dyke (1906-1986), photographer, filmmaker, teacher, and curator. Each group of materials is described separately.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Subgroup 1, 1984-1985, 1 box
  2. Subgroup 2, 1992, 1 box

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Subgroup 1, Gift of Susan Zielinski, 1989.

Subgroup 2, Gift of Leslie Squyres Calmes, 1992.

Related Materials

AG 77, Willard Van Dyke archive.

Processing Information

The materials found in Subgropu 1 were withdrawn from MISCELLANEOUS SMALL COLLECTIONS (AG8, Subgroup 53), March, 1990, by Kristi Bradford. Finding aid was updated by Tai Huesgen in 2019 and 2020.

Willard Van Dyke miscellaneous acquisitions collection 1984-1992
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