Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Doris Ulmann Collection
 

Accession Number: 8
The Doris Ulmann Collection
Papers, 1930-1976
Photos and negatives, c. 1928-1935
1.9 linear ft.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Overview
History
Series Description
Series I - Doris Ulmann Correspondence
Series II - Ulmann Will and Bequest
Series III - Doris Ulmann Foundation
Series IV - Ulmann Photographs Correspondence
Series V -
Clippings and Articles
Series VI - Commentary on the Ulmann Photographs
Series VII - Slides of Ulmann Prints
Series VIII - Lists of Ulmann Negatives and Prints
Series IX - Prints, Snapshots, and Copy Negatives

Access and Use

Provenance: The Doris Ulmann papers were collected as a result of Berea College's close association over the years with the Doris Ulmann Foundation. In addition to the papers in the Southern Appalachian Archives, the college also possesses a number of copy negatives of Doris Ulmann photographs. These are under the jurisdiction of the Berea College Art Department and are administered by the Doris Ulmann Foundation, as are approximately 4000 posthumous prints in the Berea College Art Department collection. The surviving original negatives/plates are preserved at the University of Oregon's Special Collections Library.

Use: All requests for use of the Ulmann photographs at Berea should be made to the chairperson, Berea Art Department.

Preferred Citation: The Doris Ulmann Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.

Related Archives

  • John C. Campbell Folk School Records, SAA 47

Overview

The papers of Doris Ulmann in this collection reflect her life and career as a photographer of the Southern Appalachian people, the activities of the Doris Ulmann Foundation, and the disposition of her photographs. Important items in the collection are:
    Doris Ulmann correspondence
    The Ulmann will and bequest
    Ulmann Foundation correspondence

Among the correspondents are:
    John Jacob Niles, folklorist and ballad collector
    Allen Eaton, author and authority on Appalachian arts and crafts
    Lester Pross, former chairperson, Berea College Art Department
    Francis Hutchins, former president, Berea College

History

Doris Ulmann was born in New York City in 1884. After receiving a public school education, she attended the School of Ethical Culture and Columbia University and later studied photography at the Clarence H. White School of Photography. She married and divorced Charles H. Jaeger, a prominent orthopedic surgeon.

Ulmann's published works include Portraits of the Medical Faculty of the John Hopkins University (1922), A Portrait of American Editors (1925), Roll, Jordan, Roll (1933, text by Julia Peterkin), and Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands (1937, text by Allen Eaton). In 1971 the Jargon Society published The Appalachian Photographs of Doris Ulmann, with a remembrance by John Jacob Niles, a folklorist and ballad collector who accompanied Ulmann on her trips through the Southern Appalachians. These photographic portraits of Southern Appalachian People, taken in the late 1920s and early 1930s, are classics. During her time in the mountains, Ulmann showed an especial fondness for the John C. Campbell Folk School and Berea College, and portraits of students and people from these two areas are found in her collection.

Ulmann died in New York City on August 28, 1934, and her will and bequest established the Doris Ulmann Foundation.

Boxlist
1 Manuscript Box, 7 boxes of negatives

Series I Doris Ulmann Correspondence Box 1

This series includes correspondence related to inquiries and trips to Berea College. The primary correspondents are Ulmann, John Jacob Niles, and Allen Eaton.

Box 1

  1. Doris Ulmann correspondence 1930-1934

Series II Ulmann Will and Bequest Box 1, cont.

Correspondence related to the death of Ms. Ulmann and legal documents concerning the disposition of her estate comprise this series.

Box 1

  1. Ulmann will and bequest 1934-1936

Series III Doris Ulmann Foundation Box 1, cont.

The organizational and legal papers of the Doris Ulmann Foundation, including minutes and treasurer's reports, are included in this series.

Box 1

  1. Ulmann Foundation - organization 1935
  2. Ulmann Foundation - correspondence 1935-1968

Series IV Ulmann Photographs Correspondence Box 1, cont.

This series includes letters dating from 1935 concerning the disposition and administration of the Ulmann negatives and prints.

Box 1

  1. Correspondence re photographs, 1935-1939
  2. Correspondence re photographs, 1940-1969
  3. Bequest and photographs correspondence, 1970s-1980s

Series V Clippings and Articles Box 1, cont.

Newspaper clippings and magazine articles are included in this series, all relating to Doris Ulmann's life and career.

Box 1

  1. Clipping and articles, 1930-1976

Series VI Commentary on the Ulmann Photographs Box 1, cont.

This series consists of an audiotape of a lecture by Prof. Lester Pross on Ulmann’s artistic achievement.

Box 1

  1. Cassette of a 1991 lecture by Lester Pross, then chair of the Berea College Art Department, on the Doris Ulmann prints. (SC CT 445-001)

Series VII Slides of Ulmann Prints Box 1, cont.

These 113 slides of prints in possession of the Doris Ulmann Foundation were taken by Berea art professor Greg Spaid for classroom use.

Box 1

  1. One hundred and thirteen slides of Ulmann prints (preserved in a cool environment)

Series VIII Lists of Ulmann Negatives and Prints Box 1, cont.

This series includes a printout of the Art Department's database, listing a brief description of each photo, its condition, and its identifying number. A detailed description by John Jacob Niles and Rena Niles of some of the subjects is also included, along with a listing of the copy negatives housed in Special Collections by identification number.

Box 1

  1. List of copy negatives kept in Special Collections by Box and ID number (2)
  2. Introduction to the John Jacob and Rena Niles Notebook, dated October 21-23, 1936. It classifies 1500 Ulmann photos into four groups, and gives descriptions of some of the subjects and settings, with identification numbers. (3)
  3. List of copy negatives kept in Special Collections with brief description and some annotations, and a printout of the Art Department's Research Guide to the Doris Ulmann Collection, providing a brief description of each image on file, names of subjects when known, and location when known.
Series IX Prints, Snapshots, and Copy Negatives Boxes 1-8

Six snapshots of Ulmann at work and glossy prints of five of her photos are in this series. The bulk of the series consists of seven boxes of copy negatives, administered through the Berea Art Department by the Doris Ulmann Foundation.

Box 1

  1. Six snapshots of Ulmann at work, and prints of five of her photos with a note from Allen Eaton. Ullman Copy Negatives:

Box 2

Copy Negatives, #2-557

Box 3

Copy Negatives, #568-1254

Box 4

Copy Negatives, #1257-1930

Box 5

Copy Negatives, #1934-2668

Box 6

Copy Negatives, #2675-3438

Box 7

Copy Negatives, #3454-5352

Box 8

Copy Negatives, #5356-8127

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