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White (Minor) photographs
PC-RM-White  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists of 479 black and white gelatin silver prints and 423 gelatin silver print negatives of urban and rural postwar Bay Area and greater Northern California taken by photographer Minor White while he resided in San Francisco from 1946 to 1953. The bulk of the photographs document San Francisco county neighborhoods, including the downtown financial and produce districts; the Embarcadero and waterfront; and the Potrero, Mission, Glen Park, Bayshore, Nob Hill, Chinatown, Bernal Heights, Laurel Heights, Fillmore, Sunset and Richmond districts. The images document African American, Japanese American and Chinese American neighborhoods and businesses in San Francisco. A significant number of photographs document the postwar housing construction boom in San Francisco including the construction of the planned neighborhood Parkmerced; the construction of single family housing in the Sunset district; the development of former cemeteries into residential and commercial areas; and the construction of public housing in the city.
Background
Minor White (July 9, 1908 – June 24, 1976) was an American photographer and educator. His professional career began in 1938 as a photographer on a Works Progress Administration project, documenting historic buildings in Portland, Oregon. After serving in World War II, White settled in New York enrolling in Columbia University and working as a photographer for the Museum of Modern Art. In 1946 Ansel Adams invited White to teach in the photography department at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). While teaching White continued to practice photography, documenting the distinct neighborhoods of San Francisco and various other Northern California counties. He left the California School of Fine Arts in 1953, accepting a curatorial position with the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Two years later White joined the faculty of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and in 1965 was invited to design the visual arts program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. White continued to teach, photograph, exhibit his work and publish a monograph and text on his personal photographing process. He died of a heart attack on June 24, 1976.
Extent
5 boxes 2.25 linear feet
Restrictions
Reproduced with permission of the Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum. © Trustees of Princeton University. Reproductions can be obtained from the California Historical Society. For copyright clearance and permission to use images from the Minor White photographs held at the California Historical Society, please visit the Minor White Archive website.
Availability
The photographic prints in the collection are open for research. The negatives in the collection are restricted for conservations reasons.