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William J. Eisenlord photographs, 1953-1976

Eisenlord, William J., 1926-1997


This site provides access to the photographs of William J. Eisenlord in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2011. The photographs have been scanned in their entirety, and total 148 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 0.3 Linear feet

Summary: The photographs of San Francisco photographer William J. Eisenlord measure 0.3 linear feet and date from 1953-1976. Photographs depict the City Lights Bookstore of San Francisco, California and the exhibition opening of "Poets of the Cities" at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1976. Also included are photographs of jazz and beat poetry performances taken by Ed Nyberg in 1957.
City Lights Bookstore was a popular meeting ground for many people associated with the Beat literary movement in San Francisco. The collection includes one exterior window photograph of the bookstore taken the year of its founding in 1953, and fifteen interior photographs of the store taken circa 1959. The interior shots include images of bookstore founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, bookstore manager Shigeyoshi Murao, and various customers browsing the stacks.
The photographs taken at the "Poets of the Cities" exhibition opening on January 30, 1976 at the San Francisco Museum of Art include notable figures Jack Micheline, Claes Oldenburg, James Broughton, Phil Linhares, Mark and Sally Green, Michael Larsen, Elizabeth Pomada, Ken deRoux, Peter and Minette LeBlanc, Jack Hirschman, Rolando Castellon, Knute Stiles, Michael and Joanna McClure, Byron Meyer, Peter Selz, Leo Castelli, George Herms, and Shirley and Wallace Berman.
Also included are ten photographs taken in 1957 by Ed Nyberg at The Jazz Cellar, a popular San Francisco beat nightclub. Notable figures include Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Grover Sales Jr., Sonny Wayne, and Bill Weisjahn.

Biographical/Historical Note

William J. Eisenlord (1926-1997) worked as a photographer in San Francisco, California. He was an acquaintance of photographer, poet, and journalist Mark Green. Together with business partner Thayne Riggs, Eisenlord opened the Omnibus Gallery in Sacramento, California in 1980.


The William J. Eisenlord photographs were donated to the Archives of American Art in two installments, in 1976 and 1977, by William J. Eisenlord.


Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art