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David Hume Kennerly collection

Identifier: AG 272

Content Description

The David Hume Kennerly Archive (1960s to 2019) contains more than one million objects relating to Kennerly’s career as a photojournalist and artist. Materials include but are not limited to photographs, contact sheets, negatives, books, periodicals, correspondence, project files, audiovisual materials, and born-digital records. The collection also includes physical artifacts such as clothing, luggage, and military accouterments. Kennerly has photographed all of the presidents and presidential families from Lyndon B. Johnson to Donald Trump, the Vietnam war, the Jonestown Massacre, the famous Muhammed Ali - Joe Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971, many notable musicians, entertainment industry personalities, and political figures, among others. Additionally, the collection includes documentation and drafts of Kennerly’s various independent book and media projects, including the Pluggers comic strip (1992-1995), Shooter, a book that photographically documents the Vietnam War, work with the Center for Advanced Film Studies and other professional organizations.


  • 1966 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

To access materials from this collection, please contact

Conditions Governing Use

The Center for Creative Photography owns the copyright to David Hume Kennerly photographic materials. 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 / Historical

David Hume Kennerly (born March 9, 1947, Roseburg, Oregon) is an American photographer who won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his portfolio of photographs of the Vietnam War, Cambodia, East Pakistan refugees near Calcutta, and the Ali-Frazier fight in Madison Square Garden. He has photographed every American president since Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kennerly's career in photography began in Portland, Oregon, where he was hired as staff photographer by The Oregonian in 1967 after completing six months of active duty in the US Army. During his early career in Portland, he photographed figures such as Miles Davis, Igor Stravinsky, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, The Rolling Stones and The Supremes. In late 1967, Kennerly moved to Los Angeles to become a staff photographer for the United Press International (UPI). On JUne 5, 1968, he took some of the last photos of Senator Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel as he declared victory in the California presidential primary moments before he was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan. In 1970, Kennerly was transferred to the Washington, DC bureau of UPI; at age 23, he took his first ride on Air Force One with President Nixon as a member of the traveling press pool.

In early 1971, Kennerly was sent to Saigon as a combat photographer for UPI. Larry DeSantis, a photo editor at UPI, had started a portfolio of his favorite Kennerly photographs of the year, beginning with the Ali-Frazier fight photo that ran on the front page of the New York Times. DeSantis submitted that photograph along with images of the Vietnam and Cambodia wars and refugees escaping from East Pakistan into India to the Pulitzer Prize Board for consideration. Kennerly was awarded the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography; the committee noted that he “specialized in pictures that capture the loneliness and desolation of war.”

While he was still in Vietnam, Kennerly joined Life Magazine in November 1972 as a contract photographer, and stayed on with Time Magazine beyond that. He returned to the United States in 1973 amidst the Watergate story, and the selection of Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as Spiro Agnew’s replacement. Kennerly’s first Time cover was of Congressman Ford; that session with Ford led to a personal relationship with him and his family, and when Ford became the president in 1974, he selected Kennerly to be his Chief Official White House Photographer. During Ford’s tenure in office, Kennerly photographed major meetings, events, and trips. Kennerly’s White House photographs and negatives are physically housed at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Kennerly returned to Time Magazine after his time at the White House, where he covered notable stories of the 1970s and 1980s: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s trip to Israel, the Jonestown massacre, exclusive photos of Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s first meeting in Geneva in 1985, the Fireside Summit, and many others. Beginning in the 90s, Kennerly became a contributing editor for Newsweek, where he reported inside stories on President Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, the Clinton impeachment hearings, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, the 2000 presidential election, 9/11, and other top stories. Kennerly also had a contract with John F. Kennedy Jr.’s magazine George.

Throughout his journalism career, Kennerly has covered every presidential campaign from 1968 to 2020 with the exception of 1972 while he was in Vietnam, he has photographed more than 35 covers for TIme and Newsweek, and covered assignments in over 130 countries.

In October 2018, University of Arizona’s President Robert C. Robbins named Kennerly as the university’s first presidential scholar. The following year, U of A’s Center for Creative Photography (CCP) announced the acquisition of the David HUme Kennerly Archive, which features more than one million images, prints, objects, memorabilia, correspondence and documents dating back to 1957.


135 Linear Feet

300 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • License: This record is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons license.
David Hume Kennerly collection
In Progress
Hannah Yetwin
June 2022
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Center for Creative Photography Archives Repository

1030 N. Olive RD
Tucson Arizona 85721 United States