This collection is primarily the work of one individual, Donald Harvey Sultner, known professionally as Donald Sultner-Welles (1914-1981). The collection forms a written and visual record of Sultner's family, life, and career from 1913-1980. Its major strength is Sultner's photographic documentation of the world during his travels, ca. 1950-1980. Work by other photographers and artists, correspondence, greeting cards, and contemporary memorabilia and ephemera are included, along with fewer than fifty examples of earlier materials, ca. 1790-1900, collected by Sultner.
The entire collection reflects Sultner's lifework and interests. Housed in boxes the collection is organized into eleven series: Personal Papers; Professional Papers; Lecture Materials; Biographical Materials; Transparencies; Photoprints; Photonegatives; Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media; Audio Tapes; Miscellaneous; and Steve Eyster Addenda. The arrangement within each series is based as closely as possi-ble on Sultner's own organization of the materials. However, in several instances similar materials were found separated and have been placed together. In addition, obvious filing mistakes and spelling errors have been corrected. The spelling of geographic place names is based on Official Standard Names prepared by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, Office of Geography, U.S. Department of the Interior. Not all names given by Sultner were found in the gazetteers, so there may be errors.
The bulk of the collection consists of 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (Series 5). However, the manuscript materials (Series 1-4) provide a detailed complement to the transparencies. For example, from the mid-1950s until the late 1970s, Sultner kept a travel diary (Se-ries 1). Written on the backs of postcards, this stream-of-consciousness journal reflects not only his daily trips, but his impressions of the countries and thoughts on his photography. A juxtaposition of cards with images is especially useful in understanding what Sultner photographed as well as why and how he photographed it. Sultner's professional corre-spondence (Series 2) documents the various types of groups before which he performed and equipment manufacturers dealt with for cameras, projectors, and so on. Notes, drafts, and final lectures (Series 3) present the performance side of Sultner. This material, when viewed with tapes of concerts and slides, begins to recreate the photo-concert as Sultner presented it. Scrapbooks (Series 4), kept by Sultner from the 1940s to the 1980s, present Sultner's life and career in chronological fashion.
The transparency portion of the collection (Series 5), containing over 87,000 images, is especially rich because of its documentation of the countries of the world. People are seen at their daily tasks, such as washing clothes, marketing, shopping, and eating. Cities are documented as they changed over the years. Two areas in particular will be of spe-cial interest to European and Asian researchers. The first is Sultner's USIS Asian tour in 1959. He visited Japan, Java, India, Korea, the Phil-ippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The serene, prewar cities and coun-tryside of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam evince nothing of the devastation to come in the 1960a and 70s.
The second area of interest is Sultner's passion for documenting archi-tecture. As a guest of the German government in 1954, Sultner documented the devastation of World War II and photographed both the reconstruction of bombed buildings and the construction of buildings reflecting "new" postwar architectural styles. In addition to photographing post-WW II styles, throughout his career Sultner documented Palladian, baroque and Rococo architecture. This interest manifested itself in several of his lectures.
A third subject area of interest to Sultner was gardens. Among his first lectures following his USIS tour was "Gardens of the World." Sultner de-veloped this theme into an ongoing commitment to ecology, culminating in a filmstrip, "The Time is Now" (Series 10), prepared for the Hudson River Conservation Society in the 1960s. Carl Carmer, a noted author, wrote the text for the filmstrip. Sultner's taped interviews, lectures, and program music (Series 9) complement the transparencies. During his USIS-sponsored Asian tour in 1959, Sultner recorded impressions of his trip on tape. Interviews with people living in the countries he visited, radio interviews, and his own personal reflections are included. Of particular interest are his "No Harm Asking" interviews in Manila (tape #2), his interview of two French hotel managers in Saigon discussing post-French control conditions (tape #9), and--perhaps the most unusual--his discussion with Erna Hanfstaengl about her personal relationship with Adolf Hitler (tape #107). Scripts for lectures (Series 3) round out the documentation of Sultner's profes-sional work.
Because of the arrangement of the transparencies, it is necessary to check several areas for the same subject. For example, Vietnam images are in the "World" section alphabetically under Vietnam (box 81). Sult-ner also lectured on Vietnam, so there are Vietnamese images in the "framed subjects" (Boxes 137-138). Another example, perhaps more compli-cated, but more common to Sultner, was his distinguishing between images of unidentified "People" and identified "Portraits." Transparency stud ies of human beings will be found under the subseries "People." "Subjects --Portraits," various countries in the subseries "World," and "Lectures." There are also individuals in the black-and-white photoprints (Series 6), and photonegatives (Series 8). The painter and print-maker Charles Shee-ler appears in a number of locations, as does tenor Roland Hayes. Another area of complexity with regard to people concerns the transparencies and negatives. Sultner interfiled his transparencies and negatives of iden-tified individuals. For appropriate storage, these two different formats have been arranged in separate series. Therefore, instead of container lists for the two series, there is a combined alphabetical index to both (pp. 166-206).
Of tangential interest are the photoprints (Series 6), etchings, wood-cuts, and other prints (Series 8) collected by Sultner. One particular subseries of interest contains photographs presented to Sultner by Asian photographers during his 1959 tour. Over 45 images were given to Sultner and represent the standards of camera-club photography in the 1950s. Thesecond subseries consists of over 25 prints by the Italian-American art-ist Luigi Lucioni (1900- ). For further information on this artist,see The Etchings of Luigi Lucioni, -A Catalogue Raisonne', by Stuart P.Embury (Washington, 1984). Lucioni also painted Sultner's portrait in1952 and the "People" section of the transparencies contains a number of images of Lucioni at work. Another significant category is the Japanese prints, including two by a major nineteenth-century artist, Ando Hiro-shige (1797-1858).
The collection is arranged into eleven series.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1923-1981
Series 2: Professional Papers, 1954-1980
Series 3: Lecture Materials, 1952-1980
Series 4: Biographical Materials, 1954-1980
Series 5: Transparencies, 1947-1980
Series 6: Photoprints, 1913-ca. 1980
Series 7: Photonegatives, 1929-1981
Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, ca. 1790-1979
Series 9: Audio Tapes, 1947-1980
Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1947-1980
Series 11: Steve Eyster Addenda, 1937-1980
Biographical / Historical:
Donald Harvey Sultner was bom in York, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1914, the son of Lillian May Arnold Sultner and Harvey A. Sultner. In 1923 Sultner attended the Lewis Institute in Detroit, Michigan, to overcome a speech impediment. He entered the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1932 and graduated in 1936. Sultner studied merchandising and sang in the glee club, then under the direction of composer Harl MacDonald. Sultner, a baritone, continued his interest in music and studied voice with Reinald Werrenrath and with Florence Benedict and Bruce Benjamin in New York City. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he appeared in concert with accompanists at schools, clubs, and resort hotels along the East Coast.
It appears that photography was always an important part of Sultner's life. Using a small format (120) camera, he recorded his vacation travels around the United States and Canada, parties, and his family. While living in New York, Sultner continued photographing friends and family and began photographing the famous people he encountered on his concert tours. In the early 1950s he began taking 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (slides) of landscapes and architecture as he traveled giving concerts.
Sultner, who had taken the stage name of "Sultner-Welles," began what was to be his lifework as a professional "photo-lecturer" in 1952. He illustrated his talks on nature, art, architecture, and the environment with his color slides. In 1954 Sultner toured West Germany as a guest of the Bonn government, and in 1959 he lectured in Asia under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. He was dubbed the "camera ambassador." Constantly adding new material to his collection of slides, Sultner traveled extensively throughout the United States, speaking before garden clubs, cultural organi-zations, and schools. He also appeared aboard various ships of the Holland-America line during a number of cruises abroad.
Sultner had established his performance style by the early 1960s. He expanded his lectures to include a combination of art, words, and music. The expanded presentation resulted in the "photo-concert," a unique synthesis of light and sound that Sultner frequently per-formed with a symphony orchestra. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra commissioned "Concertino for Camera and Orchestra" by Eric Knight with Sultner in mind. The world premiere was in Baltimore in March 1979. While he spoke on many art, garden, and architectural topics, Sultner specialized in subjects relating to the baroque and rococo periods and Palladian architecture.
Sultner died of cancer in York, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 1981, at the age of 67.
1914 -- April 13, born York, Pennsylvania.
1929 -- In Detroit at Lewis Institute to overcome a speech impediment.
1932 -- To University of Pennsylvania.
1935 -- Summer trip to Roanoke (VA), Picketts, Hershey (PA); fall trip to New England for fraternity (AXP) convention.
1936 -- Spring glee club trip; graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; summer trips to Newport News (VA), northern trip to Canada, Picketts (PA).
1937 -- Fall trip to Williamsburg (VA), Duke University (NC); Sultner family begins building "Glen Hill" (Dover, PA).
1938 -- Summer at home, and Picketts (PA), Camp Pratt.
1939 -- Spring trip to Washington, D.C.; September trip to The Homestead (WV), Hot Springs (WV), Virginia; Lake Mohonk (NY).
1940 -- Summer trip to New Orleans, Blowing Rock (NC); winter trip to Skytop Club (NY); fall trip to Atlantic City (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Annapolis (MD).
1941 -- Winter 1941-42 appearance in "Hit the Deck." Lake Mohonk (NY) with Ted Walstrum (Sept. 22-23); Skytop Club (NY) (February); summer trip to Canada, Lake Chazy (NY) (Aug. 17-23).
1942 -- Spring in Atlantic City (NJ); summer to Buck Hill Falls, Lakes Chazy and Mohonk.
1943 -- Summer trip to Mohonk (NY).
1944 -- Summer: To Toronto (Ontario), Muskoka Lake, Bigwin Island, Montreal (Quebec), Mohonk (NY).
1946 -- To Mohonk (NY), Ogunquit (ME), Old Saybrook (CT), Nantucket (RI).
1947 -- Singing tour of Canada and New England; winter-spring tour to Georgia and Florida.
1948 -- To Florida and Nassau, Feb.-Mar., Vermont, July-Aug.; Nassau-Havana-Miami-Bermuda, October.
1949 -- Singing tour of North and South Carolina.
1950 -- Summer trip to South.
1951 -- To District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, [New Jersey?], New York, Vermont.
1952 -- January 9: first public photo-concert, Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Philadelphia; trips to Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont.
1953 -- To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont.
1954 -- Guest of German government for a study tour in the fall. To District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia.
1955 -- To Holland; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1956 -- To California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1957 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Austria, Italy. To Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1958 -- Holland-America Cruises to Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland. To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota., Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin.
1959 -- United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored tour of Asia: Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaya, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam. Also visited Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Spain; Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania.
1960 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Belgium, Caribbean, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Morocco. To Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1961 -- To Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland; Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode.Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1962 -- Portfolio, "Autumn in Vermont," with introduction by Carl Carmer, published in Autumn issue of Vermont Life. Holland-America Cruise to Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden. To Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1963 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Sweden, Thailand. To Alabama, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, N;w York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
1964 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Canada, England, Holland, Wales. To Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia.
1965 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Wales. To Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1966 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland. To New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1967 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Wales. To Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia.
1968 -- To Germany; Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1969 -- To England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland; Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1970 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden. To Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1971 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Sweden. To Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania.
1972 -- Holland-America Cruise to Asia, Pacific, Caribbean, Africa, Austria, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Turkey. To California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia.
1973 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Sweden. To California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont.
1974 -- To Germany, Switzerland; California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1975 -- To Austria; California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1976 -- To Canada; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah.
1977 -- To Canada, Germany; New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1978 -- To Scotland; Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina.
1979 -- To England; Florida.
1980 -- To Florida.
1981 -- March 25: Sultner dies of cancer, York, Pennsylania.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection, ca. 1790-1981, came to the National Museum of American History in 1982 from the estate of Mr. Sultner. The collection was created by Sultner over his adult life and represents one of the most extensive collections of color transparencies created by one individual and held in a public repository. Sultner's emphasis was on world culture. He took the majority of his photographs in the eastern United States, western Europe, and Asia. Gardens, architecture, and people are the three major subject areas represented in the collection. Of additional interest are Sultner's taped impressions of his 1959 United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored Asian tour. The collection occupies 309 boxes and covers more than 83 cubic feet.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection is open to researchers in the Archives Center, third floor east, of the National Museum of American History, between 12th and 14th Streets, on Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20560. The Archives Center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Written and telephone (202/357-3270) inquiries are welcome and researchers are encouraged to contact the Archives Center before their arrival. The FAX number is 202/786-2453.
This is the eleventh in a series of occasional guides to collections in the Archives Center. Finding aids to other collections are available. The Guide to Manuscript Collections in the National Museum of History and Technology (1978) and an updated compilation contain brief descriptions of all archival holdings in the Museum. All current Archives Center holdings are available for search on the Smithsonian Institution Bibliographic Information System (SIBIS), an online database.
Collection is open for research but a portion of the collection is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
A small number of letters and photographs are restricted until the year 2031. Identification list in box.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
23 color Cibachrome photoprints: portraits of farmers at the Carrboro Farmer's Market, Carrboro, North Carolina. Portraits made 1994 in a garage studio setup near the market, prints by JW Labs, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Documentary and corporate photographer who worked in New York City and Tokyo for 25 years before moving to North Carolina. Was Tokyo correspondent, Photo District News; photo editor, Business Tokyo; co-author, Women See Woman (Harper & Row, 1977). Photographs published: Sports Illustrated, Life, Time, Fortune, Forbes, Vogue, Interview, The NY Times Magazine, etc. Founding member, Soho Photo Gallery.
Collection donated by Sonia Katchian, November 2001.
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. The photographer requests that the Museum notify her or her heirs whenever the Museum anticipates display or reproduction of any of her photographs.,Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Sonia Katchian retains copyright. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Sonia Katchian Carrboro Farmer's Market Project Color Photoprints, 1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Copyright (c) 2001 Sonia Katchian. Gift of the artist. [Note: this credit line must accompany any reproduction or exhibition of photographs in this collection, as stipulated in the Deed of Gift.]
Fourteen color photographic prints by Christina Patoski, depicting front-lawn and front-porch holiday displays (primarily Christmas) in various U.S. cities.
Scope and Contents:
The fourteen photographs in this group are Cibachrome prints from 35mm. Kodachrome slides, documenting front-lawn and front-porch holiday displays (primarily Christmas) in various U.S. cities, including a variety of economic, ethnic, and regional groups, architectural genres, and decorating styles, documenting a "unique seasonal custom found only in America." Several images suggest attempts to broaden the cultural/religious basis of the celebration, combining Jewish traditions with the Christmas decorating tradition. Cities documented are Denver, Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Sun Valley (Idaho), Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y., Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, and Santa Fe.
The Cibachrome prints are horizontal on 16" x 20" paper, with 22" x 28" mats, except for "Holiday Spectacular," which was used on an introductory panel in ta national Museum of American History exhibition, without a mat.
Collection is unarranged.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer, documentary producer, and journalist, Christina Patoski began photographing front-lawn and front-porch Christmas displays in 1973, in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning with a house on Diaz Street in the Como neighborhood. She called the photograph "Red Extravaganza," and it inspired her to photograph other houses. Driving up and down Fort Worth Streets at Christmastime with her saxophonist husband Johnny Reno, she worked exclusively at night. Concentrating at first on the most elaborate displays, she later sought simpler, more personal decorations, and became more discriminating. She repeated in many areas of the country as part of an ongoing project spread over many years. She is interested in documenting "unusual" elements of popular culture within a variety of topical fields.
She told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "I've seen so much, that for me to stop and take a photo now, it has to be something special… I've noticed, though, that there are a lot of houses decorated this year. And to me, that indicates a sense of optimism… when people decorate, there's a sense of good feeling."
Her photographic technique is simple, employing two fifteen-year-old 35mm cameras and low-speed Kodachrome film, using commercial processing. She has been photographing since she was a child, when her father encouraged her. Graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, she spent several years in Minneapolis as a dancer, choreographer, and television editor. She returned to Fort Worth in 1976 to work in television news, but since 1979 has been a free-lance writer, radio reporter (contributing to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered), and a producer and writer.
She is interested in documenting unusual elements of popular culture (what she calls "weirdness"), such as her Texas Monthly story, illustrated with her portraits, on Texas women with "big" hair. She maintains files on longhorn steer, pyromaniacs, tornadoes, and cheerleading, and considers herself a "Margaret Mead of popular culture."
Jackie Koszczuk and Janet Tyson, "A Sense of the festive: Photographer captures home-grown Christmas Art," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Section E, December 25, 1993, pp. 1, 4.
Collection donated by Christina Patoski, December 14, 1994.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Christina Patoski retains copyright. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Christianity and other religions -- Judaism -- Holiday decorations -- 1970-2000 Search this
The collection includes Arthur d'Arazien's professional work in industrial photography from the late 1940's through about 1981; personal creative photography and other types of professional work were retained by Mr. d'Arazien or placed elsewhere. Thus this collection is a very cohesive, unified body of work, which documents primarily American (and some Canadian) business and industry during a period of expansion a golden age of American industry. Although it represents the photographer's creative and artistic style and skill, the subject matter is appropriate to the National Museum of American History from several viewpoints the visual documentation of industry and technology, as well as advertising, public relations, and business history.
The photographs include black and white negatives and prints from the negatives, as well as color negative and transparency materials, up to 8" x 10" in size. Probably the majority of the transparencies were made in the large size. The black and white materials include pictures of d'Arazien at work some made by famous Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, a colleague at the Famous Photographers School. A number of Dye Transfer prints mounted on illustration board were made by master color printer Don Browning.
In addition to frequently extensive caption information on all of d'Araziens original envelopes and enclosures, many enclosures for color negatives and transparencies bear d'Arazien labels with technical information or instructions for color printing, such as filter pack designations and local printing controls. These enclosures therefore have been retained in the collection, although usually they are not of archival quality.
Of secondary significance are 62 large color prints, mostly Type C, with a few Cibachromes, which were made from the original transparencies for exhibition purposes. Most were made either by K & L laboratories, New York City (stickers on back) or Eastman Kodak professional laboratories, Rochester, N.Y., and have been wet mounted to non archival Masonite. At the time of acquisition, several had faded and/or changed color. These are available for research and exhibition purposes, but are not expected to survive as long as the original transparencies.
The collection contains Mr. d'Arazien's files of printed materials. These include reproductions which indicate how his photographs were used by clients. Included are annual reports, promotional pieces, magazine tearsheets from advertising and editorial uses, and other biographical items.
Series 1: Professional industrial photographs.
Photographs document primarily American business and industry (including some taken in Canada). Black-and-white negatives with prints from these negatives, also color negative and transparency materials. Most transparencies are 8" x 10". The photographs demonstrate the photographer's reputation as a master of dramatic lighting and the coordination of large-scale, complex industrial setups in factories, steel mills, and even outdoor settings. Also 65 color prints, mostly Type C with a few Cibachromes, made from the original transparencies for exhibition purposes, mostly wet-mounted to Masonite. Black-and-white photographs include pictures of d'Arazien at work--some by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.
Series 2: D'Arazien's files of printed materials, some of which include photomechanical reproductions of his work, indicating how the photographs were used by clients; also annual reports, magazine tearsheets from advertising and editorial uses, and other promotional items, in addition to biographical materials.
2007 addendum: Transparencies, slides, prints and negatives of additional photographs by Arthur d'Arazien, including industrial subjects as well as travel, architectural, agricultural, portrait, art, still life and personal photographs. Also included are miscellaneous papers, mostly relating to d'Arazien's photographic work.
The collection is divided into three series.
Series 1: Paper Documents
Subseries 1.1: Publications and Reproductions.
Subseries 1.2: Photographer's Labels, Envelopes, Etc.
Series 2: Photographs
Subseries 2.1: Color Phototransparencies
Subseries 2.2: Color Photonegatives and Color Photoprints
Subseries 2.3: Black and White Photonegatives and Photoprints
Subseries 2.4: Color Photoprints: Enlargements Mounted on Masonite
Material is arranged in each sub-series primarily by client names, in alphabetical order.
Series 3: Oversize prints
Biographical / Historical:
Arthur d'Arazien began his photographic career as an assistant to a famous theatrical photographer, documenting Broadway shows. A distinctive emphasis on dramatic lighting in his later work suggests the heavy influence of the theater. He did fashion and commercial photography, as well as photographing the 1939 World's Fair, for Underwood & Underwood Illustration Studios, East 44th St., New York City, in 1938 1939. He was described in a U.S. Camera Annual article as Aan architect whose interest in photography has caused him to make a profession of it.
D'Arazien taught aerial photography for the U.S. Air Corps Technical Training Command at Lowry Field, Denver, during World War II. He began his career in industrial photography with the De Laval Separator Company, New York City. His energy and creativity led to assignments which often were judged too difficult for lesser photographers. His growing reputation as an industrial photographer kept pace with the dynamic growth of the industrial and technological activities he was photographing during the 1950s through the 1980s.
Robert Vogel, former Curator of Mechanical and Civil Engineering for the National Museum of American History, wrote that d'Arazien:
...became internationally known for his dramatic color views of the American industrial scene at a time when our industry can be said to have been at the height of its powers....He was commissioned by the giants of steel, paper, chemicals, machinery, transportation, automobiles, mining, metal refining, textiles, and the other heavy (and medium) industries. ...He developed a number of special techniques for obtaining the grand, sweeping views that became his trademark, including multiple exposures to achieve dramatic lighting effects, elaborate lighting setups involving multiple flashes from several vantages employing a number of assistants intercommunicating by radio, complex arrangements with transportation lines and the various departments of the subject organization to produce the desired juxtaposition of elements in the photograph, and the like. His MO was anything but that of simply walking onto the scene and snapping the shutter; for many of his breathtaking views he appears to have been more producer and impresario than photographer.
Arthur d'Arazien describes the growth of his spectacular style as an eager response to new subjects, challenges, and photographic materials:
...knowing that color was the coming thing in corporate advertising, I pursued that line. I did lots of experimenting; every assignment gave me an opportunity to try something new, such as combination day and night exposures on a single sheet of film, multiple flash bulbs to light large interiors, multiple exposures on the same film, such as...moving objects ...automobiles, trains...to build up excitement in a picture. Colored gels to change colors. I even used old fashioned flash powder to light ...steel mills, because there were no flashbulbs powerful enough to light these dark, cavernous interiors: this idea was borrowed from the Air Corps night time aerial photography with magnesium flash powder.
A skilled painter and metal sculptor as well as photographer, d'Arazien came from a family of artists. His photographs were made primarily on assignment from industrial corporations for advertising, editorial, and public relations purposes, but have been exhibited and collected as works of art in the Smithsonian Institution (Division of Photographic History), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum. His work was included in the Photography in the Fine Arts exhibitions organized by Ivan Dimitri, and he was a founding faculty member of the Famous Photographers School, Westport, Connecticut, in the early 1960's.
D'Arazien married Margaret Scott and has two sons. He had a studio in Waterside Plaza, New York, and made his home in New Canaan, Connecticut, until moving to Naples, Florida, upon his retirement in 1988. The collection was brought to the Smithsonian's attention by his son Steven, and was donated to the Archives Center before this move. In anticipation of this gift, Mr. d'Arazien spent several months inspecting his collection, eliminating duplicate and technically unsuccessful images, and captioning photographs.
American Aces, U.S. Camera Annual 1939. Clipping in scrapbook no. 1, box 24, first page.
Robert M. Vogel, memorandum, undated, but written after a December 1987 visit to d'[Arazien's home.
In Archives Center collection control file.
Letter to the author, 26 February 1992, in collection control file.
Collection donated by Arthur d'Arazien, December 24, 1988.
Collection is open for research but the majority of the collection is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Industry -- Photographs -- 1940-1980 -- Canada Search this
Industry -- Photographs -- 1940-1980 -- United States Search this