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Lucien Aigner photographs and papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1837
Scope and Contents

The collection contains contact sheets, negatives, transparencies, slides, photographic prints, scrapbooks, writings, professional and personal papers, correspondence, printed material, cameras and other recording equipment, and audiovisual and computer media created and collected by Hungarian photojournalist Lucien Aigner.

Photographic materials document historical events in the 1930s and 1940s, such as the 1932 Geneva Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, Stresa Conference of 1935, the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. Other subjects include Coney Island and Harlem, New York; ballet dancers practicing at the Opéra de Paris; Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris; Bastille Day in Paris; and the marriage of King Zog I of Albania. Notable figures in the collection include Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Stefan Lorant, Lorin Maazel, Guglielmo Marconi, Yehudi Menuhin, Benito Mussolini, Norman Rockwell, Sara Delano Roosevelt, William Saroyan, Haile Selassie, and Harry S. Truman. The collection additionally contains portraits taken at Aigner’s Great Barrington studio, his series of New York child portraits, and photographs of schools, camps, and churches.

Writings contain photo stories, drafts and materials related to published and planned books, diaries, and radio and play scripts by Aigner.

Correspondence concerns business and personal matters and includes letters from Helen Dukas, Stefan Lorant, Lorin Maazel, Norman Rockwell, and Sara Delano Roosevelt, as well as third party exchanges between Aigner’s family members and others.

Papers include inventories and descriptions of photographs and other material in the collection, created by Aigner as he cataloged his work in the 1970s to 1990s; files related to exhibitions, research, projects, and Aigner's portrait studio work in Great Barrington; business and financial records; and personal and family papers. Printed material includes books, catalogs, clippings, magazines, pamphlets, postcards, posters, and other ephemera by or relating to Aigner.

Printed material includes books, catalogs, clippings, magazines, pamphlets, postcards, posters, and other ephemera by or relating to Aigner.

Also included are objects and photographic equipment, such as Aigner's studio stamps, one Kodak Brownie box camera, two Graflex press cameras, and a Bell and Howell motion picture camera.

Audiovisual and computer media consists of reel-to-reel film, audio and videocassettes, floppy disks, and CDs and DVDs. Audiovisual material includes interviews of Aigner, recordings relating to his exhibitions, the documentary "Life with the Camera," and Aigner's film about educator and missionary Frank Laubach.

Language of Materials

In English, Hungarian, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

Series I. Photographs is open for research. As additional series are processed they will be opened to researchers. For further information, consult Access Services.

Boxes 325-336 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 337 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Lucien Aigner Photographs and Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from the Estate of Lucien Aigner on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2015.


Organized into seven series: I. Photographs, circa 1930s–2011. II. Writings, circa 1931–2009. III. Correspondence, 1899–1998. IV. Papers, 1886–2011. V. Printed Material, 1917–2011. VI. Objects, circa 1910s–1990s. VII. Audiovisual and Computer Media, 1946-1997, undated.

362.17 Linear Feet ((323 boxes) + 14 broadside)
Related Names
Aigner, Lucien
Language of Materials