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Ansel Adams visits the National Archives

Today’s post comes from Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

A fellow named Ansel Adams visited the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, in 1941. Here’s a record–in pictures, of course!–of his visit.

Adams was at the National Archives to select and print images from the Mathew Brady collection (now in series 111-B and 111-BA) for use in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit “Photographs of the Civil War and the American Frontier,” which would open in March 1942.

Here are notes from Vernon D. Tate, head of the Division of Photographic Reproduction and Research, regarding the benefits of a visit by Ansel Adams:

From notebook "1942-43 Office Notes and Daily Log, Part 1"  in Record Group 64, P entry 32

From notebook “1942-43 Office Notes and Daily Log, Part 1″ in Record Group 64, P entry 32

Adams came to the National Archives Building on that same day, and the next:

From notebook "Uncurrent 1941-1942 Visitors Notes Etc"  in Record Group 64, P entry 32

From notebook “Uncurrent 1941-1942 Visitors Notes Etc” in Record Group 64, P entry 32

In September, he again visited, and printed his selections in the Archives’ photo lab. Here is the lab where he worked:

Photographic Laboratory, ca. 1938 ( 64-NA-301)

Read the MOMA’s press release and catalog for the exhibit here.

Original caption reads: “Visit to the National Archives by the famous American photographer, Ansel Adams, to look at some of his work in the Still Picture Branch, September 10, 1979″ (64-MISC-1-5)

This photo of Adams is from a later visit. Original caption reads: “Visit to the National Archives by the famous American photographer, Ansel Adams, to look at some of his work in the Still Picture Branch, September 10, 1979″ (64-MISC-1-5)

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