Skip to main content

Thomas Barrow archive

Identifier: AG 202

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into 15 series: Correspondence, 1950s-2000s; Biographical Materials, 1950s-2000s; Activity Files, 1960s-2000s; Writings, 1970s-2000s; Photographic Materials, 1960s-1970s; Photographic Equipment 1960s-1990s; Non-photographic Art Work, 1970s-1980s; Memorabilia, 1960s-1970s; Personal Art Collection, 1970s-2000s; Personal Library; and Accruals from 2014 through 2018. There are three appendices: Selected Correspondence, Guide to Frequent Correspondents, and Photographic Equipment Inventory.

The first series, Correspondence dates from the 1950s through the 2000s. Barrow maintained an active correspondence with friends, colleagues and students throughout the years. Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters, postcards, greeting cards and notes from friends, other photographers, students, editors, critics, galleries, museums and others arranged alphabetically and filed together. Family correspondence is grouped separately. Correspondence is also scattered throughout the collection. Appendix A contains an index of selected correspondents and Appendix B is a Guide to the Names of Frequent Correspondents with Thomas Barrow. It cross lists first name signatures with last names.

The second series, Biographical materials, 1950s-2000s includes a chronology, resumes, materials related to Barrow’s education, a thesis, biographical directory listings, personal journals and interviews. Of note is early work for his BFA and MFA, and work done while studying under Aaron Siskind.

The third series, Activity files, 1960s-2000s documents Barrow’s career in photography and teaching. It includes correspondence, publicity, announcements, and clippings related to professional and private activities including committees and organizations he participated in, grants and fellowships awarded, research files, lectures, workshops, panels, judging competitions. This series includes journals/day planners, financial records, reviews, papers and clippings related to Barrow’s professional and private activities including committees and organizations he participated in, grants and fellowships awarded, George Eastman House projects, research files collected, lectures, workshops, panels, and judging competitions.

Exhibition materials in the Activity files consist of announcements, correspondence, gallery notes, brochures, clippings, posters, and Barrow’s lists of prints for exhibitions. The materials in the series are related to exhibitions of Barrow and others. Of note are papers relating to his relationship with LIGHT Gallery and a collection of announcements of exhibitions of others collected by Barrow, 1970s -2000s.

Financial materials in the Activity files series contain checkbooks, receipts, bills, correspondence, and insurance papers relating to household and business expenses. Included are book royalties, photography sales and donations. Personal and professional records are arranged alphabetically in Barrow’s original order.

Materials from George Eastman House in the Activity files contain correspondence and papers documenting Barrow’s activities and projects at GEH, including catalogs and exhibitions created by him.

Research files in the Activity files consist of clippings from magazines and newspapers on topics of interest and visual references collected by Barrow.

Teaching materials in the Activity files are related to his various academic positions, principally at the University of New Mexico. Files include lecture notes, lecture recordings, and student work. Also included are papers documenting his activities with the Society for Photographic Education, Friends of Photography, and workshops, conferences, panels and judging competitions in which Barrow participated.

Series four, Writings, 1960s-2000s consists of unpublished manuscripts by Barrow and others, monographs, periodicals and clippings by and about Barrow and others. Of note are exhibition catalogs, 1980s-2003, (bulk 1980-1990) collected by Barrow for an unwritten History of Photography Since WWII and an unpublished manuscript on Sadakichi Hartman.

Series five, Photographic materials, 1960s-1970s contains negatives, contact sheets, study prints, transparencies, props used in his photographs as well as photographs taken by Barrow and others. Includes photographic greeting cards of correspondents and their families and photographs found loose in the Barrow papers.

Series six, Photographic equipment, 1960s-1980s includes cameras, props and equipment used by Barrow throughout his career in the creation of his photographs. See Appendix C for a detailed list of boxes 101 through 104.

Series seven, Non-photographic artwork, 1970s-1980s contains artwork made by Barrow, not based in photography, including some of his student work. Included are drawings, etchings and collages.

Series eight, Memorabilia, 1960s-1970s includes miscellaneous items collected by Barrow such as t-shirts, playing cards, ceramic camera, etc.

Series nine, Personal art collection contains artwork collected by Barrow, including paintings, artists’ books, drawings, and collages.

Series ten, Personal library consists of monographs, periodicals, and exhibition catalogs collected by Barrow and correspondence relating to orders with book dealers.

An additional 12 linear feet was accessioned between 2014 and 2018 and remains largely unprocessed. These accruals include artifacts and memorabilia, correspondence, publications, exhibition catalogues and announcements, books, and photographic materials. They have been added to the finding aid as Series 11-15, arranged chronologically by the year each series was accessioned.


  • 1893-2015


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

Photographer, designer, and educator Thomas Francis Barrow was born September 24, 1938 in Kansas City, Missouri to Luther Hopkins Barrow and Cleo Naomi Francis Barrow. He attended Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design in 1963. During 1965 he attended classes at Northwestern University in Chicago where he studied film. In the same year he moved with his wife and daughter to Rochester, NY to join the staff of George Eastman House as Assistant Curator of the Research Center. During 1967 he studied with Aaron Siskind and earned an MS in Photography from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. During 1968-1971 he lectured in history and aesthetics of photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and Buffalo State University. He was awarded his first NEA Fellowship in 1971 and became one of the original members of LIGHT Gallery that year. Barrow became Assistant Director of George Eastman House, and editor of Image in 1972. At George Eastman House he formed friendships with people who would become important in his career and life, such as Harold Jones, Beaumont Newhall, and Robert Sobieszek. In 1973 he divorced, accepted the positions of Associate Director of the University Art Museum and Associate Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he remarried in 1974. That year The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California was published, designed by Barrow. He resigned as Associate Director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum to teach full time and devote more time to his work. The same year he directed the University of California, Riverside Summer Photography Institute and had a one man show at LIGHT Gallery in New York City. He became Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico, Department of Art in 1971 and continued in that position until 1981. He earned a second NEA Visual Arts Grant in 1978. He became Professor of Art and Art History at University of New Mexico Department of Art in 1981. Many of his students went on to have prominent careers in photography. During 1982 his book Reading Into Photography was published by University of New Mexico and Barrow had a one man exhibition at Friends of Photography in Carmel, California. He became Acting Director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum in 1985. In 1991 he had a heart attack and coronary bypass surgery. In 2000 he became Adjunct Curator of Photography for the University of New Mexico Art Museum and in May of 2001 he retired from the University of New Mexico Department of Art and was designated Professor Emeritus of Photography in 2002. The Center for Creative Photography acquired his archive in 2005.

Barrow’s professional career is multifaceted. A nationally known photographer, innovator, and educator, his professional career encompasses museums, education, photography, publications, and literature review. His career began in 1965 at George Eastman House, but in 1973 he joined the University of New Mexico where he spent the rest of his career. At both institutions he curated exhibitions, produced publications and wrote reviews. Barrow’s early training in graphic design at KCAI influenced his photography and projects in poster, book and publication design and he sustained ties with KCAI throughout his career. Creative and experimental, he has maintained a lively interest in the arts of literature, film and music which influence his work. From the beginning of his career he had a scholarly interest in the history and aesthetics of photography, later publishing the book Reading Into Photography. Barrow, along with Louis Baltz and Robert Heinecken, were among photographers experimenting with subject matter, styles and processes of photography during the 1970s. In 1974 Barrow designed the Lewis Baltz monograph, New Industrial Parks Near Irvine California, which became a landmark photography publication. During the 1970’s Barrow was awarded an NEA Fellowship and two NEA grants and became one of the first photographers represented by LIGHT gallery. As an educator Barrow mentored many students who became prominent in the photography and museums fields.

Barrow has maintained a wide network of friends, former students and colleagues over his career, many of whom were leaders in the photography, fine arts and museum fields. His award-winning photography, teaching and scholarly reputation led to his recognition as a notable figure in contemporary photography. As a result, he participated in many exhibitions, workshops, lectures, panels and competitions over his career.


Thomas Francis Barrow born to Luther Hopkins Barrow and Cleo Naomi (Francis), September 24, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Graduates with BFA in Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), Kansas City, KS.
Takes film courses with Jack Ellis at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Moves with wife Barbara and daughter Melissa to Rochester, NY.
Joins staff of George Eastman House as Assistant Curator of Exhibitions, Associate Curator of Research Center.
MS in Photography, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, IL. Studies with Aaron Siskind.
Lecturer in history and aesthetics of photography at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Buffalo State University 1969-1970.
Son Timothy born.
NEA Fellowship.
Becomes one of original members of Light Gallery.
Assistant Director, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY.
Editor of Image, George Eastman House. Rochester, NY.
Awarded NEA Visual Arts Grant.
He accepts position of Associate Director of the University Art Museum and Associate Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. He and Barbara divorce. TFB moves to Albuquerque, NM.
Marriage to Laurie Anderson in Santa Paula, CA, November 30.
Publication of The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California. Photographs by Lewis Baltz, designed by Thomas Barrow.
Director, University of California, Riverside. Summer Photography Institute.
Resigns as Associate Director of University of New Mexico Art Museum to teach full time and devote more time to his work.
One man show at LIGHT Gallery, New York, NY.
Associate Professor at University of New Mexico, Department of Art, Albuquerque, NM.
Awarded second NEA Visual Arts Grant.
Son Andrew born.
Appointed Professor of Art and Art History at University of New Mexico Department of Art.
One man exhibition at Friends of Photography, Carmel, California.
Publication by UNM Press of his Reading Into Photography.
Designated Honored Photographer at SPE West/Southwest Conference.
Acting Director, University Art Museum, University of New Mexico.
Monograph of his work, Inventories and Transformations published.
Trustee of Friends of Photography.
Presidential Professorship Award, University of New Mexico.
Heart attack and coronary bypass surgery.
Adjunct Curator of Photography for the University of New Mexico Art Museum.
Retires from University of New Mexico Department of Art, Albuquerque, NM in May.
Becomes Professor Emeritus of Photography, University of New Mexico.
Center for Creative Photography acquires his archive.
Monograph of his work from the 1970s and 1980s, Cancellations published.

Two monographs of Barrow’s work have been published, Inventories and Transformations (1986) and Cancellations (2012). Barrow’s work has been widely exhibited and is in the collections of many museums.


169 Boxes (69 linear feet)

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Collection contains papers, photographic materials, audiovisual materials, ephemera and miscellaneous materials documenting the life and career of American photographer and educator, Thomas F. Barrow (1938- ). Included are correspondence, biographical materials, exhibition announcements, clippings, publications, appointment calendars, memorabilia, teaching materials, writings, fine art, photographic prints, negatives, transparencies, and photographic equipment.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1950s-2000s, 30 boxes
  2. Series 2: Biographical materials, 1950s-2000s, 6 boxes

Series 3: Activity files, 1960s-2000s, 47 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Other materials, n.d., 1986-2002, 4 boxes
  2. Subseries 2: Exhibitions, n.d., 1969-2005, 18 boxes
  3. Subseries 3: Financial records, n.d., 1960s, 1 box
  4. Subseries 4: George Eastman House, n.d., 2 boxes
  5. Subseries 5: Research, n.d., 1980s-2003, 3 boxes
  6. Subseries 6: Teaching materials, n.d., 1963-1964, 19 boxes
  7. Sub-subseries 1: Other materials, n.d., 16 boxes
  8. Sub-subseries 2: Workshops, Seminars, n.d., 1963-1964, 3 boxes

Series 4: Writings, 1970s-2000s, 13 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Manuscripts (unpublished), n.d., 2 boxes
  2. Subseries 2: Publications by Barrow, n.d., 1970s-1980s, 8 boxes
  3. Subseries 3: Publications collected by Barrow about himself and others, 1967-1975, 1 box
  4. Subseries 4: Miscellaneous, n.d., 1960s-1980s, 2 boxes

Series 5: Photographic materials, 1960s-1979s, 26 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: By Barrow, n.d., early 1960s-1995, 20 boxes
  2. Sub-subseries 1: Prints/Contact sheets, n.d., 6 boxes
  3. Sub-subseries 2: Negatives, n.d., 2 boxes
  4. Sub-subseries 3: Transparencies, n.d., early 1960s, 3 boxes
  5. Sub-subseries 4: Props, n.d., late 1970s-early 1980s, 4 boxes
  6. Sub-subseries 5: Contact sheets, n.d., 1966-1995, 5 boxes
  7. Subseries 2: By others, n.d., 6 boxes
  8. Sub-subseries 1: Prints, n.d., 5 boxes
  9. Sub-subseries 2: Transparencies, n.d., 1 box
  1. Series 6: Photographic equipment, 1960s-1990s, 13 boxes
  2. Series 7: Non-photographic artwork, 1970s-1980s, 3 boxes
  3. Series 8: Memorabilia, 1960s-1970s, 3 boxes
  4. Series 9: Personal art collection, 1970s-2000s, 3 boxes
  5. Series 10: Personal library, n.d., 1 box
  6. Series 11: 2014 Accrual, n.d., 2 boxes
  7. Series 12: 2015 Accrual, n.d., 1957-2015, 8 boxes
  8. Series 13: 2016 Accrual, n.d., 1893-2001, 6 boxes
  9. Series 14: 2017 Accrual, n.d., circa 1973-2013, 5 boxes
  10. Series 15: 2018 Accrual, n.d., 1965-2015, 3 boxes

There are three appendices:

  1. Appendix A: Selected Correspondence
  2. Appendix B: Guide to the names of frequent correspondents with Thomas Barrow
  3. Appendix C: Photographic Equipment Inventory

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Thomas Barrow, starting in 2005. Additional materials were received in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Additional materials were acquired in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Related Materials

Carl Chiarenza (AG 87)

Coke, Van Deren (AG 140)

Joe Deal (AG 229)

Robert Fichter (AG 109)

Robbert Flick (AG 213)

Friends of Photography (AG 186)

Robert Heinecken (AG 45, AG 235)

Rachel Homer (AG 211)

Harold Jones (AG 67)

LIGHT Gallery (AG 194)

Newhall, Beaumont (AG 48, AG 125)

Aaron Siskind (AG 30, AG 26)

Robert Sobieszek (AG 232)

Society for Photographic Education (AG 78)


  1. Barrow, Thomas, 1938-
  2. Chiarenza, Carl, 1935-
  3. Coke, Van Deren, 1921-2004
  4. Deal, Joe, 1947-2010
  5. Fichter, Robert, 1939-
  6. Friends of Photography
  7. Flick, Robbert, 1939-
  8. George Eastman House
  9. Heinecken, Robert, 1931-2006
  10. Jones, Harold, 1940-
  11. LIGHT Gallery
  12. Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993
  13. Photography
  14. Siskind, Aaron, 1903-1991
  15. Society for Photographic Education

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Rule, Leslie Squyres. Finding aid was updated by Tai Huesgen in 2019 and 2020.

Thomas Barrow archive 1893-2015
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