Eliot Elisofon Field collection, EEPA 1973-001
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
EEPA.1973-001
Creators:
Elisofon, Eliot
Dates:
circa 1935-1978
Languages:
Undetermined
Physical Description:
14000 negatives (photographic)
b&w
35mm
30000 slides (photographs)
color
80,000 Photographic prints
b&w
25 x 20 cm. or smaller.
Repository:
This collection is comprised of photographic and manuscript materials, primarily created by Eliot Elisofon to document his travels and work. The images portray many aspects of African life and culture including agriculture, wildlife, archaeology, architecture, art and artisans, children, cityscapes and landscapes, leaders, markets, medicine, recreation, ritual and celebration, and transportation. The manuscript materials include correspondence, essays, clippings, puobligations, notes, research, and itineraries.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of circa 14,000 negatives, 30, 0000 slides, 8,000 photographic prints, and 14 boxes of manuscript materials that date from circa 1945-1978.
The photographs document Eliot Elisofon's travels and work in Africa. The images portray many aspects of African life and culture including agriculture, wildlife, archaeology, architecture, art and artisans, children, cityscapes and landscapes, leaders, markets, medicine, recreation, ritual and celebration, and transportation. Artisans shown include an Asante weaver making kente cloth in Ghana; a Dogon carver in Mali making a kanaga mask; an Ebrie goldsmith in Cote d'Ivoire; Hausa dyers in Kano, Nigeria; and Nupe beadmakers in Nigeria; as well as artists at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa, Congo. Portraits of leaders include the Asante court at Kumase in Ghana; Ebrie chiefs and notables in Cote d'Ivoire; the timi (king) of Ede, a Yourba town, Nigeria; the emir of Katsina, Nigeria; and the Kuba king and his court in the Congo. There are informal portraits showing children of the Kuba royal court dancing, Fulbe women with gold earrings in Mali, Mangbetu women in the Congo, and Maasai elders in Kenya. Masked dances documented include a Dogon dama festival celebration in Mali, an Igbo festival in Nigeria, and Kuba and Pende masked dancers in the Congo. There are also images of Yoruba gelede (men's association) masks in Nigeria. Non-masked dancers shown include Dan professional acrobatic dancers in Cote d'Ivoire, Irigwe dancers in Nigeria, Mangbetu dancers in the Congo, Mbuti dancers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Wodaabe men dancing in Nigeria. Events shown include Hausa riders in chain mail during the Independence Day celebration in Katsina, Nigeria. Images of art in situ include ancestral altars in the King of Benin's palace in Nigeria; Dogon rock paintings in Mali; and Yoruba Shango shrine sculptures in the palace courtyard of timi (king) of Ede in Nigeria. Landscapes include views of mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Animals shown include birds, buffalos, elephants and giraffes. Traditional architecture shown includes Asante shrine houses with raised wall decorations in Ghana, Dogon villages in Mali and mosques in Mopti.
The manuscript materials include correspondence, essays, clippings, puobligations, notes, research, and itineraries.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
A photographer best known for his work in Life magazine. Elisofon worked as a free-lance magazine photographer from 1933 to 1937, as a staff photographer for Life from 1933 to 1937 and on photographic assignments for various magazines, including the Smithsonian magazine, from 1942 to 1945. Elisofon traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America documenting the peoples of these lands as well as their arts and environments. A founding member and curatorial associate of the private Museum of African Art, which in 1981 became the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA), Elisofon bequeathed his collection of African photographs to the museum when he died in 1973. To honor Elisofon's contribution to the understanding of African art and culture, NMAfA named its archives after him.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Preferred Citation
Eliot Elisofon Field Collection, EEPA 1973-001, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

Custodial History note
Custodial History note
Photographs from this collection appeared in Life magazine and in the following publications; Color Photography by Eliot Elisofon (London: Thames & Hudson, 1962), The Nile by Eliot Elisofon (New York: Viking Press, 1964), Zaire: A Week in Joseph's World by Eliot Elisofon ((New York: Crowell-Collier Press, 1973), Africa by Eliot Elisofon edited by Tom Maloney (New York: U.S. Camera Annual, 1953-54) and Memorable Life Photographs by Edward Steichen (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1951).

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Negatives Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Africa Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographic prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Congo (Democratic Republic) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mali Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ghana Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color slides Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white negatives Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Body arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Côte d'Ivoire Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Benin Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burkina Faso Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Egypt Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kenya Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Liberia Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Niger Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nigeria Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rwanda Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Senegal Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
South Africa Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sudan Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tanzania Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Togo Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Uganda Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zambia Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zimbabwe Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Central African Republic Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art
National Museum of African Art
P.O. Box 37012
MRC 708
Washington, DC 20013-7012
elisofonarchives@si.edu
http://africa.si.edu/collection/eliot-elisofon-photographic-archives/