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Barbara and Willard Morgan Archive at UCLA

  • UCLA Young Research Library 11334 Charles E Young Drive Los Angeles, CA United States (map)

Please join us for an exclusive visit to the UCLA University Library to view the extraordinary Barbara and Willard Morgan archive.

UCLA’s University Librarian, Ginny Steel, will welcome guests and give context as to why this archive is notable for UCLA and for documenting the legacy of these two important figures in the world of photography. Special Collections curator, Genie Guerard, will guide guests through the highlights of the collection and show several artifacts which further illustrate the archive’s significance.

UCLA alumnus Barbara Brooks Morgan (1900-1992) became one of the most inspired and illustrious photographers of American dance in the twentieth century. A member of UCLA’s very first graduating class in 1923, Barbara joined UCLA’s Art Department faculty in 1925. Discovering photography as an art form, Barbara would become known for her evocative photographs of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, and other modern dancers, and as a co-founder of the influential Aperture magazine.

Willard Morgan (1900-1967) was a seminal figure in developing photographic technologies and elevating photography to an art form. He introduced the 35mm camera to the world through his extensive publications for Leica, which were often illustrated with his and Barbara’s photographs. Willard published all of Ansel Adams’ early books, was the first photo editor for Life magazine and was appointed the first Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943.

The archive includes more than 13,000 negatives and 4,000 prints by Barbara Morgan, in addition to Willard Morgan’s photography. The photographic archive is enriched with 125 feet of personal papers, featuring correspondence with other photographers, dancers, painters, architects, and writers. A deep connective thread ties the papers of Barbara and Willard to many creative innovators whose archives are already held in UCLA Library Special Collections, including photographers Edward Weston, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins.

This event is limited to 25 attendees. PAC·LA members only. No guests will be admitted.