Adams' Manzanar War Relocation Center Photographs
Collection digitized? Yes. 244 images are available
in the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog (//www.loc.gov/pictures/).
(The same images are presented on the Library of Congress American
Memory site.) [ Retreive
In 1943, Ansel Adams (1902-1984) photographed the Manzanar War
Relocation Center at the suggestion of its director, his good
friend and fellow Sierra Club member, Ralph Merritt. Adams wanted
to contribute to the war effort while at the same time show the
loyalty of the Japanese-Americans interned at Manzanar, located
in Inyo County, California, approximately 200 miles northeast
of Los Angeles. In 1944, some of these images were published
in Adams' book Born Free and Equal. The book had a limited circulation,
perhaps due to the political climate of war-time America. When
offering the collection to the Library,
Adams said in a letter, "All in all, I think this Manzanar Collection is an important
historical document, and I trust it can be put to good use...The purpose of my
work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss
of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and
despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent)
Beginning in 1965, Adams gave 241 original negatives and 209 photographic
prints to the Library. Adams printed the photographs in the 1960's. By this
time, his outstanding darkroom style produced prints with rich tonalities.
The Library's Duplication Services does not attempt to duplicate Adams'
printing style. Adams often cropped his images and his prints are frequently
much darker than those printed by the Library's Duplication Services, so
patrons ordering prints will not receive ones exactly as Adams would have printed
In 1998, to preserve and protect the original photographic prints, LC's Duplication Services printed reference surrogate prints from the original negatives. The surrogate
[Lot 10479 (F)] is arranged in eight subdivisions according to subject matter.
It includes portraits, photos of day to day activities, and landscapes. Because
Adams did not donate original photographic prints for each negative, the surrogate
Lot contains more images than have been previously available for research purposes.
There are 209 original
photographic prints and 241 reference surrogate prints.
This collection is in the public domain, but privacy and publicity rights may
apply. When images are reproduced in a publication, the Library requests that
number be published with the credit, as in the following example. "Library of
Prints and Photographs Division, LC-A35-4-M-10."
Copies of Ansel Adams' Manzanar photographs may be ordered through the Library's
Duplication Services. Orders for copies must be accompanied by reproduction
numbers for the desired images. Reproduction numbers can be found on the surrogate
reference prints in LOT 10479 (F). For those images that are represented by online
catalog records, reproduction numbers (including black-and-white film negative
numbers and, in some cases, numbers for color transparencies made by photographing
the original print in the collection) are also cited in the catalog record.
If reproduction numbers are not known, the Division's reference staff will
search for up to fifteen reproduction numbers in reply to written requests.
Such inquiries should include: (1) a photocopy of the desired image, (2) caption,
and (3) author and full title of the publication and the page on which the
image appeared. Once the reproduction numbers have been identified, photographic
prints or transparencies can
be ordered directly from the Library of Congress, Duplication Services, Washington,
D.C. 20540-5230. Order forms, price, and order instructions will be provided
The following works by Ansel Adams are available in the Prints and Photographs
- A portfolio of 15 photographs entitled What Majestic Word; In Memory
Varion (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1963). These photographs are not in
the public domain.
Call number: PH - Adams (A.), no. 2 (PORTFOLIO)
- An early portfolio of 18 photographs entitled Parmelian Prints of
the High Sierras (San Francisco: Jean Chambers Moore, 1927). These
photographs are not in the public domain. Call number: PH - Adams (A.),
no. 4 (PORTFOLIO)
- Two single photographs, "Basin Peak and the Buttermilk Country Road, " and
an undated and untitled portrait of Ella Young. These photographs are not
in the public domain.
For information on permission to reproduce work
by Ansel Adams that is not in the public domain,
see the rights and restrictions statement, "Ansel
Adams (Except for the Manzanar War Relocation Center
While not owned by the Library of Congress, another collection of interest
is a series of photographs which Adams took for the National Park Service.
These public domain images are housed at the Still Picture Branch, Special
Archives Division, National Archives, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.
These images are available through the National Archives internet site. A summary
description of the images is available at http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/.
Descriptions of individual Ansel Adams' items with digital images can be located
by using the National Archives' National
Archives' ARC database (http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/index.html).
The following publications reproduce a number of Adams' images. The first two
specifically with Manzanar.
Adams, Ansel. Born Free and Equal, photographs of the loyal Japanese-Americans
Manzanar relocation center, Inyo county, California. New York: U.S. Camera,
number: F870.J3A57 P&P
Armor, John. Manzanar. New York: Times Books, 1988. Call number:
The Mural Project. Photography by Ansel Adams. Santa Barbara:
Reverie Press, 1989. Call
number: E160.A299 1989 P&P
Ansel Adams: The National Park Service photographs. New York:
Abbeville Press; 1984.
Call number: E160.A298 1984 P&P
Ansel Adams-Images, 1923-1974. Boston: New York Graphic Society,
1974. Call Number:
TR654.A33 1974 P&P folio
Adams, Ansel. Yosemite and the Range of Light. Boston: New York
Graphic Society, 1979.
Call number: TR 660.5.A33 P&P
Alinder, James. Ansel Adams: Classic Images. Boston: Little,
Brown, 1986. Call number:
Alinder, Mary Street and Andrea Gray Stillman, eds. Ansel Adams: Letters
and Images, 1916-
1984. Boston: Little, Brown, 1988. Call Number: TR140.A3A4 1988 P&P
Hammond, Anne. Ansel Adams at Manzanar. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2006.Call number: TR647.A236 2000 [P&P]
Newhall, Nancy. Ansel Adams: The Eloquent Light. New York: Aperture,
number: TR140.A55N48 1980 x-copy P&P
Prepared by: Jan Grenci, Reference Librarian, 5/11/98