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David Goldblatt photographs and papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1594

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographic prints, contact sheets, negatives, slides, research material, printed material, correspondence, and other papers by or relating to South African photographer David Goldblatt. The work represented in the collection primarily consists of Goldblatt's personal photographic work, but also includes Goldblatt's work as a professional photographer for magazines, corporations, advertising agencies, and other institutions. Major projects and exhibitions represented in the collection include Some Afrikaners Photographed, The Transported of Kwandebele: A South African Odyssey, David Goldblatt: Structures of Dominion and Democracy, In Boksburg, and On the Mines. Professional work includes projects completed for Leadership Magazine, Fair Lady, Observer Magazine, The New York Times, and Standard Bank.


  • circa 1940s-2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The David Goldblatt 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 David Goldblatt on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2019.


Arranged into six series: Series I: Personal work, circa 1940s-2016. Series II: Corporate work, circa 1960-2018. Series III: Magazine work, circa 1948-2011. Series IV: Correspondence, 1964-2017. Series V: Printed material, 1986-2018. Series VI: Professional papers, 1960-2018.

Related Materials

David Goldblatt’s library of photographic books, including a complete set of his publications, is in the collection of the Wits Arts Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa.


262.76 Linear Feet ((370 boxes) + 3 broadside)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt (1930 - 2018) was a South African photographer who most notably documented the people, landscapes, and structures of South Africa under apartheid, as well as chronicling its dismantling and legacy after the first free elections in 1994. Goldblatt was born in Randfontein, South Africa and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a degree in commerce. Following the death of his father in 1962, he sold the family business and devoted himself full-time to photography. Goldblatt's personal work focused on understanding South African's relationships to each other and their physical environment during and after apartheid. His major projects include On the Mines, 1973, Some Afrikaners Photographed, 1975, In Boksburg, 1982, and his series, Structures, which he worked on from 1948 to 2018.

In 1989, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg. In 1998 he was the first South African to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Goldblatt died in 2018 in Johannesburg at the age of 87.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the David Goldblatt Photographs and Papers
by Jessica Tai, Jim Fisher, and Mike Rush
April 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.