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Ansel Adams correspondence with Imogen Cunningham, 1949-1976

Adams, Ansel Easton, 1902-1984



Collection Information

Size: 1 Microfilm reel, 73 items on partial microfilm reel

Summary: This microfilm collection of Ansel Adams correspondence with Imogen Cunningham consists of correspondence between Ansel and his wife Virginia Best Adams and Imogen Cunningham. Most letters are from Cunningham. They write about their work and about both artistic and technical problems of photography, about various proposals for a monograph on Cunningham, about Nathan Lyons and Karl Struss, and about personal matters. In one letter, Mrs. Adams offers Cunningham detailed advice on the disposition of her works and papers after her death.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was an American landscape photographer known for his black and white images of the American West. He took some of his earliest photographs at national parks and as a member of the Sierra Club, which he joined at the age of 17. He was later contracted with the United States Department of the Interior to make photographs of national parks. In 1980, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work and environmental advocacy.


Photocopies of the letters were donated 1978 by Ansel Adams and microfilmed on reel 1410. Photocopies discarded after microfilming.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art also holds the Ansel and Virginia Adams letters from Imogen Cunningham, 1966; the Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991; and an oral history interview with Imogen Cunningham, 1975 June 9 conducted by Louise Katzman and Paul Karlstrom. The University of California, Berkeley Bancroft Library holds the Ansel Adams collection and the University of California, Los Angeles Charles E. Young Research Library holds the Ansel Adams Papers, 1938-1944. The University of Arizona, Center for Creative Photography holds the Ansel Adams archive, the Ansel Adams Miscellaneous Acquisitions collection, the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, and the Imogen Cunningham Miscellaneous Acquisitions Collection, 1920s-1974.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Original letters are owned by the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 1410 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Letters are photocopies.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American Art does not own the originals. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from: Executor of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Items for which publication permission is received must carry the following credit: "Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona at Tucson." Contact Reference Services for more information.

The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

How to Cite This Collection

Ansel Adams correspondence with Imogen Cunningham, 1949-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.