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Louise Dahl-Wolfe archive

Identifier: AG 76

Scope and Contents

Series one, Correspondence, contains one box of correspondence dating 1928-1988.

Series two, Biographical materials, contains the Dahl family papers, Dahl-Wolfe’s school records, original art created for Dahl-Wolfe by her husband, Mike Wolfe, Christmas cards, and other materials.

Series three, Exhibitions, contains one box of exhibition materials dating between 1947 and 1988.

Series four, Albums, journals, and notebooks, contains five boxes of albums, journals, and notebooks created by Dahl-Wolfe and others. There are travel journals related to LDW’s trips to Europe and North Africa and scrapbooks.

Series five, Publications, 1932-1988, holds nine boxes of periodicals, tearsheets, LDW’s personal library, and clippings. These publications feature LDW’s images, in addition to interviews and feature stories about her work and her home. Appendix A includes monographs and bound periodicals that are available in the Volkerding Research Center’s Library.

Series six, Photographic materials, circa 1870-1988, contains 88 boxes of personal prints, negatives, contact sheets and proof prints. These materials are both personal and professional in nature covering a wide variety of subjects. Materials are arranged in two groups: personal photographs, followed by professional work. Negatives and prints of personal subjects, such as travel and/or residences, have been combined. Fashion negatives and prints are housed separately. Wartime materials include prints of various projects, such as: “Watch That Rumor,” "The Poison Peddlers” series for the “Walls Have Ears,” project of the U.S. Government, “Waves,” “Home Service in the Smokies” (“Red Cross Series”), etc. Fashion prints and negatives are arranged primarily by size, followed by negative sleeves and envelopes, and photographic supplies and equipment. See AG76:21 for portraits of Louise Dahl-Wolfe. Note: nitrate negatives have been isolated from the collection and are stored in cold storage.

Series seven, Artifacts, contains three boxes of artifacts, which includes original negative sleeves and envelopes.

Series eight, Photographic equipment, contains two boxes of photographic equipment and supplies, including cameras and projectors.


  • circa 1870 – circa 1980s


Language of Materials

Material in English

Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Nitrate negatives have been isolated from collection and placed into cold storage. At least two weeks advanced notice required to access these materials.

Conditions Governing Access

The negatives in boxes 101-104 are currently inaccessible due to renovations in CCP's cold storage facility. Negatives will be accessible once the renovation is complete and the negative boxes have been transferred to the new frozen storage space. The estimated date of availability is mid-year of 2023, although not guaranteed. Please be sure to email with any questions or for updates.

Conditions Governing Use

©1989 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

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

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895 – 1989) was a photographer known for her fashion photography and portraiture. She was born in 1895 in Alameda, California to Norwegian parents and studied at the San Francisco Institute of Art. While traveling in Europe in 1927 with the photographer Consuelo Kanaga, she met her future husband, Meyer (Mike) Wolfe. Wolfe was a sculptor with whom she collaborated on various projects; one example of their collaboration is the Chinese calligraphy background, published in Harper’s Bazaar, April, 1958. Dahl-Wolfe produced her first published photograph in 1932, after which she moved with her husband to New York City where she opened a photography studio and shot advertising and fashion photographs as a freelance photographer.

In 1938 Dahl-Wolf was hired at Harper’s Bazaar as a staff fashion photographer in 1938. During her tenure with the magazine Dahl-Wolfe was instrumental in setting the tone for fashion images that have had wide-ranging influence, from fashion photography to art, clothing styles and music choreography. Under the editorship of Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland, Dahl-Wolfe produced portraits of the rich and famous for Harper’s that continue to be widely reproduced today. She produced both black-and-white and color work and was well-known for her use of natural lighting and for shooting on location. After leaving Harper’s Bazaar in 1958, Dahl-Wolfe returned to freelance photography and produced work for both Vogue and Sports Illustrated, until retiring in 1960. Dahl-Wolfe later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and died in New Jersey in 1989 of pneumonia.


60 Linear Feet

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Papers, photographic materials, and memorabilia 1895 – circa 1980s, of Louise Dahl-Wolfe, (1895 – 1989), photographer. Consists primarily of contact prints and negatives of fashion illustrations for Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, and leading commercial stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bonwit Teller. Also includes family and personal photographs, portraits and correspondence with other photographers, artists, and fashion personalities such as Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland, Carson McCullers, and Edith Sitwell. Also included are biographical, exhibition, publication, lecture materials; travel diaries; tearsheets, and volumes of Harper's Bazaar (1938 – 1958). Contains approximately 13,000 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in., 2,500 3x4 in., and 600 8x10 in. negatives.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, n.d., 1928 – 1988, 1 box

  1. Selected Index to Correspondence
  1. Series 2: Biographical materials, n.d., 1902 – late 1980s, 2 boxes
  2. Series 3: Exhibitions, n.d., 1947 – 1988, 1 box
  3. Series 4: Albums, journals, and notebooks, n.d., circa 1927 – circa 1982, 5 boxes

Series 5: Publications, n.d., circa 1932 – 1988, 9 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Periodicals, n.d., circa 1932 – 1988, 3 boxes
  2. Subseries 2: Tearsheets, n.d., 1941 – 1959, 3 boxes
  3. Subseries 3: Personal library, 1958 – 1987, 2 boxes
  4. Subseries 4: Clippings, n.d., 1938 – 1986, 1 box
  5. Appendix A: Archives bookshelf
  6. Monographs
  7. Bound volumes of Harper’s Bazaar

Series 6: Photographic materials, circa 1870 – 1988, 87 boxes

  1. Subseries 1: Personal prints and negatives, n.d., circa 1870 – 1988, 14 boxes
  2. Subseries 2: Edmondson, William, n.d., circa 1930s, 1 box
  3. Subseries 3: Wartime, n.d., 1940 – 1945, 1 box
  4. Subseries 4: Movies, television, n.d., circa 1938 – 1939, 1 box
  5. Subseries 5: Portraits, photographs, n.d., 1940s – 1950s, 1 box
  6. Subseries 6: Personalities, contact and proof prints, n.d., 1940s – 1950s, 15 boxes
  7. Subseries 7: Fashion, contact and proof prints, n.d., 1935 – 1987, 30 boxes
  8. Subseries 8: Negatives, n.d., 1927 – 1959, 18 boxes
  9. Sub-subseries 1: 8x10 black-and-white, n.d., 1930 – 1957, 5 boxes
  10. Sub-subseries 2: 5x7 black-and-white, n.d., 1931 – 1955, 2 boxes
  11. Sub-subseries 3: 4x5 black-and-white, n.d., 1939 – 1955, 4 boxes
  12. Sub-subseries 4: 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ black-and-white, n.d., 1927-1959, 8 boxes
  13. Subseries 9: Color work, n.d., 1977, 2 boxes
  1. Series 7: Artifacts, n.d., 3 boxes
  2. Series 8: Photographic equipment, n.d., 2 boxes

Custodial History

This collection was a gift of the artist to the Center with accessions beginning in 1985. Some materials were acquired from the estate after Dahl-Wolfe’s death in 1989.

Related Materials

Although some color transparencies are housed in the Louise Dahl-Wolfe archive, the bulk of the collection was given by Dahl-Wolfe to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

There are related materials in AG 153, the Louise Dahl-Wolfe miscellaneous acquisitions collection, at the Center for Creative Photography.

Separated Materials

Nitrate negatives have been isolated from the collection and placed into cold storage.

Acetate negatives have been isolated from the paper materials and rehoused in separate boxes.


  • Dahl-Wolfe, Louise. MoCP, Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Accessed 27 July, 2020.
  • Hostetler, Lisa. Louise Dahl-Wolfe. ICP, International Center of Photography, Accessed 27 July, 2020.

Processing Information

Processed by Carol Elliott, 2006-2007. Nitrate negatives isolated from collection and stored in cold storage by Alexis Peregoy, 2017. Acetate negatives isolated and rehoused in 2019. Finding aid was updated by Tai Huesgen in 2020.

Louise Dahl-Wolfe archive circa 1870-circa 1980s
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