Scope and Content
Title: Helen Nestor Free Speech Movement Photographs
Oakland Museum of California
Oakland, California 94607
The records are open for research with no restrictions under the conditions of the museum's access policy. Appointments may
be made by calling (510) 238-2200
Researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.
[Identification of item], Helen Nestor Free Speech Movement Photographs, Oakland Museum of California.
Scope and Content
The Helen Nestor photographic collection at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California contains more than 2,000
prints and 20,000 negatives, is the life's work of an important documentary photographer who specialized in recording the
political and social changes of the 1960s and beyond in California. The 39 photographs presented here are a selection from
her negatives taken during the Free Speech Movement in the Fall of 1964.
Nestor's prolific career is all the more remarkable in that she is seriously disabled. Like Dorothea Lange (with whom she
was acquainted), Nestor was afflicted with polio; unlike her more famous colleague, she could not walk without the assistance
of crutches and, eventually, a wheelchair. Despite this she produced compelling work in often threatening situations. Born
in 1924, Nestor earned a B.S. degree in public health at U.C. Berkeley before being stricken with polio in 1951. She studied
photography in the early 1960s with Ansel Adams, Morley Baer, Minor White, and Dorothea Lange - her spiritual mentor.
Nestor's work appeared in Ramparts magazine as well as in several monographs including Equal Start (1968), On the Go (1968),
The Trouble in Berkeley (1965) and Field Trips (1966). In the 1970s she became increasingly interested in changing family
constellations, creating a series entitled Non-Traditional American Families, which exhibited in several galleries including
the Focus Gallery in San Francisco. In 1988 she rephotographed these families for a book titled Family Portraits in Changing
Nestor has also photographed the disabled, focusing on disabled working women and artists. She has mounted ten solo exhibitions
and participated in numerous group