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Robert S. Harrah collection

Identifier: AG 54

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of a manuscript written by Harrah about his relationship with the noted photojournalist W. Eugene Smith (1918 - 1978). This narrative describes Harrah’s first acquaintance with Smith in the hospital on Okinawa, his work as an assistant to Smith in New York City, the life of a photojournalist on the road, their progress with such projects as "Trial by Jury" and "Country Doctor," Harrah's meetings with such notables as Edward Steichen and Lincoln Kirstein, Harrah's apprenticeship in the profession, and events in his personal life.


  • 1945-1981


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

Robert S. Harrah (1925-1989) was an American photojournalist and engineer. He worked as a photographer in the Medical Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It was there that he met W. Eugene Smith, who at the time was a photographer for Life. After the war, Harrah enrolled in photographic school in California before moving to New York to be W. Eugene Smith’s assistant. Harrah worked with Smith from 1947-1949 before returning to California and working as a freelance photojournalist. In 1981 he wrote an unpublished memoir detailing his working relationship with Smith. Robert Harrah died in 1989 at the age of 64.


3 Boxes (1 linear foot)

Metadata Rights Declarations

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


Papers, 1945 - 1981, of Robert S. Harrah (1925-1989), photojournalist and engineer. Includes a photocopy of his illustrated, unpublished manuscript, Gene and Me ... and Photojournalism (1981: 2 vols. 314pp.), which contains Harrah's recollections of his working relationship between 1945 and 1948 with noted photojournalist W. Eugene Smith (1918 - 1978); nine photocopies of correspondence between them in 1945 and 1948; and some research material used in writing the manuscript.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Box 1: Folders of like materials
  2. Box 2-3: Gene and Me ... and Photojournalism, 2 volumes

Custodial History

This collection was a gift from Robert Harrah to the Center for Creative Photography beginning in 1982.

Processing Information

Processed September 1984 by Roger Myers. Revised January 1987. The finding aid was updated by Paloma Phelps in 2017.

Robert S. Harrah collection 1945-1981
Finding aid updated by Paloma Phelps
© 2017
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