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Jay and Grace Sternberg papers

Identifier: AG 245

Scope and Contents

Papers documenting the life and career of photographer and teacher Jay Sternberg (1900-1957), as well as his wife, Grace Sternberg, consisting of a news clipping, photographs, manuscripts related to teaching and photography, and diplomas created and collected by the Sternbergs, spanning 1933-1956. The collection includes an article from the Tucson Daily Citizen entitled "Birthday Gift Started Sternberg on Career" published on August 18, 1956; photographs of the Sternberg family taken in Tucson; lecture notes written by Jay Sternberg for teaching at the Tucson School of Photography from 1939 to 1940; a list of first and limited edition books; a manuscript of an article titled "The Circle of Confusion"; a manuscript titled "What Is Photography?"; and Jay and Grace Sternbergs' diplomas from the Clarence H. White School of Photography. Although the collection includes information on Sternberg's teachings at the Tucson School of Photography, no documentation pertaining to the Jay and Grace Sternberg Studio in Manhattan or the Arizona School of Photography is provided.


  • 1933-1956


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

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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

Jay Sternberg was born in 1900 in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania, he moved to New York City. From 1922 to 1926, Sternberg had a brief career in Wall Street. He then formed a partnership with George Macy, entering the publishing business. Sternberg married Grace in 1928, who gave him a Graflex camera for his birthday. As a result, Sternberg quit the business world in 1932 to learn photography at the Clarence H. White School of Photography, Grace joining him. After attending school, they opened the Jay and Grace Sternberg Studio in Manhattan. In 1938, the Sternbergs closed the studio down and moved to Tucson, Arizona. There they began a highly successful combination studio and school of photography, the Tucson School of Photography. They gave a number of shows over the years at the school's own gallery, including the work of such photographic masters as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Bernice Abbott. The studio/school closed down when the United States entered World War II. Shortly after the war, the Sternbergs started the Arizona School of Photography with Jimmy Cohn, a noted New York photographer. Due to health issues in the mid-1950s, Jay Sternberg was forced to withdraw from the operation of the school. Before his death in 1957, Sternberg began making photos purely for fun, experimenting with new techniques and the field of color.


.25 Linear Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


This collections contains material relating to the career of Jay and his wife, Grace Sternberg. Includes two photographs of Jay and Grace Sternberg, their photography diplomas, lecture notes by Jay Sternberg, and a news clipping about Jay Sternberg.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Biographical materials, 4 folders, 1933-1956

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers were given to the Center by Grace Sternberg in June, 1995. Transferred from the Margaret Hummel Cohn Papers (AG 51), November 2013.

Related Materials

Information relating to Jay and Grace Sternberg can be found in the Margaret Cohn archive (AG 51) and the Ansel Adams archives (AG 31).

Processing Information

Transferred from the Margaret Hummel Cohn Papers (AG 51), November 2013. Finding aid created by Alexis Peregoy in 2016.

Jay and Grace Sternberg papers 1933-1956
Finding aid created by CCP Archives Staff
© 2021
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