A Finding Aid to the Imogen Cunningham Papers,
1903-1991
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.cunnimog
Creators:
Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976
Dates:
1903-1991
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
5.9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of photographer and teacher Imogen Cunningham, date from 1903 to 1991. The collection measures 5.9 feet of material, including correspondence, business and financial records, writings, printed matter, and photographs, and provides a good overview of Cunningham's life and career.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of photographer and teacher Imogen Cunningham, date from 1903 to 1991. The collection measures 5.9 feet of material, including correspondence, business and financial records, writings, printed matter, and photographs, and provides a good overview of Cunningham's life and career. 3.6 linear feet of correspondence comprise the bulk of the collection.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into ten series according to material type:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1907-1981, undated (box 1; 4 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1991, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.6 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1944-1976 (box 4; 15 folders)
  • Series 4: Notes, 1959-1968 (box 4; 10 folders)
  • Series 5: Teaching Files, 1964-1971 (box 5; 4 folders)
  • Series 6: Writings, circa 1910-1976 (box 5; 21 folders)
  • Series 7: Interview Transcripts, 1951, undated (box 5; 2 folders)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1903-1991 (boxes 5-7; 1.2 linear feet)
  • Series 9: Photographs, 1916-1976 (box 7; 12 folders)
  • Series 10: Oversized Material, 1947-1948, 1967, undated

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Born in Portland, Oregon on April 12, 1883, Cunningham's family moved to Seattle in 1889. Inspired by Gertrude Kasebier's work, she purchased her first camera in 1901. After studying chemistry and botany at the University of Washington, she worked for the Edward S. Curtis Studio, Seattle, from 1907 to 1909. Receiving a scholarship, Cunningham studied for a year at the Technische Hochschule, Dresden.
Upon her return to Seattle in 1910, she opened a studio and had the first major exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in 1912.
In 1915, Cunningham married printmaker Roi Partridge and gave birth to her first son, Gryffyd. Two years later, her family moved to California, where she gave birth to twin sons, Padraic and Rondal. In 1920, the family moved to Oakland, where her husband taught at Mills College. During the 1920s, she exhibited her art work and began photographing plant forms.
Along with Ansel Adams, John Paul Edwards, Sonya Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston, Cunningham formed the f/64 Group, a society of purist photographers in 1932. During the same year she began working for Vanity Fair and other magazines and began a career as a portrait photographer, including Martha Graham, Cary Grant, Morris Graves, Alfred Stieglitz, and Spencer Tracy as her subjects. She divorced her husband in 1934.
In 1947, Cunningham established a studio in her San Francisco home, and continued to exhibit extensively until her death on June 24, 1976.

Administration
Alternative Forms Available
The collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5034-5041 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Jean Fitzgerald in 1995. The finding aid was modified by Stephanie Ashley in 2001 prior to EAD conversion.
Author
Jean Fitzgerald
Provenance
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Imogen Cunningham in 1974 and 1976, and by her son, Gryffyd Partridge, in 1991.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Imogen Cunningham papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrated letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photography, Artistic Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women photographers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Portrait photography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mann, Margery Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noskowiak, Sonya, d. 1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Partridge, Roi, 1888-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schoener, Allon Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steinert, Otto, 1915- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Strand, Paul, 1890-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Struss, Karl, 1886- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Toklas, Alice B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Van Dyke, Willard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weston, Edward, 1886-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bissantz, Edgar, 1901- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andreson, Laura Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bristol, Horace Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bourke-White, Margaret, 1904-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Butler, John Davidson, 1890-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bullock, Wynn Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feininger, Lyonel, 1871-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coburn, Alvin Langdon, 1882-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graves, Morris, 1910- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
George Eastman House Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Group f.64 Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Henry Art Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lange, Dorothea Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kanaga, Consuelo, 1894- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aalto, Alvar, 1898-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newman, Arnold, 1918-2006 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Witkin, Lee D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zorach, William, 1887-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Minor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Witkin Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/