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Toba Pato Tucker photographs and papers

 Collection
Call Number: WA MSS S-2604

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the photographic career of Toba Pato Tucker, including her various photographic projects. These projects include:
  1. Street Portraits (1977): Portraits of people on the street in New York City and Minneapolis.
  2. Daytop Village Portraits (1977-1980): Portraits of residents of a therapeutic drug rehabilitation program with facilities throughout New York State.
  3. Navajo Portraits (1981): Portraits of Navajo people living in Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area, also known as Black Mesa or Big Mountain in Navajo County, Arizona, during which project she also made landscape photographs of the Navajo Reservation.
  4. Shinnecock Indians of Eastern Long Island (1984-1987): Portraits of a multi-racial Native American reservation located on the east side of Shinnecock Bay in Southampton, Long Island, New York.
  5. Black History & Folklife Project, Riverhead, New York (1986): Portraits of African American members the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, New York.
  6. Heber Springs Portraits (1989-1991): Portraits of residents of a rural Arkansas town, which consciously revisited the subject matter photographed decades earlier by Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959).
  7. Haudenosaunee, Portraits of the Firekeepers, The Onondaga Nation (1991-1992): Portraits of tribal members on the Onondaga Reservation in upstate New York, as well as landscapes showing community buildings.
  8. Pueblo Artists, Portraits (1995-1997): Photographs of Native American artists and their families from pueblos throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
  9. Native American Relocation Project (2001): Portraits of Native Americans whose families moved to southern California under programs sponsored by the federal government in the 1950s.
  10. Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest (2012-): Landscape photography of the American West that references the work of nineteenth century photographers.
Additional material in this collection also documents several smaller projects, which include:
  1. The Urban Indian (1980): Portraits from the Native American Center, Los Angeles, California.
  2. Portraits of the Montaukett Indians of eastern Long Island (1986 and 1988).
  3. Portraits of amateur bodybuilders in Southampton, Long Island (1986-1987).
  4. Landscapes of Abiquiu Lake, New Mexico (2003).
  5. Landscapes of the American West (2010-2011).
  6. Photographs of Africa (2011).
The collection also documents personal portraits, landscapes, and seascapes Tucker has made throughout her career as well as commissioned portraits she made between 1980 and 2003.

The photographic materials in the collection consist of exhibition prints, work prints, and negatives for Tucker’s various projects, as well as her commissioned work and personal photographs. Her project files include background research, correspondence, and interviews. The collection includes exhibition catalogs, publications, and publicity material produced by projects as well as a small quantity of her personal papers.

Many photographs of Native Americans in the collection document these individuals and their communities during the late twentieth century. Most of the portraits depict Native Americans wearing modern clothes, which underscore their contemporary lives. Portraits of individuals wearing traditional costumes also appear throughout the collection, reflecting Tucker’s interest in tracing cultural continuity as well as change within Native American communities.

The photographs and papers for the Daytop Village Portraits project provide unique documentation of drug rehabilitation centers during the 1970s. The audio interviews frequently report the circumstances of individuals that led them to drug use and of their eventual entry into the rehabilitation center, while other audio recordings provide glimpses into the program from the residents' vantage point.

Dates

  • 1950 - 2015
  • Majority of material found within 1977 - 2017

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 192-199, 206-213, 216, 253, and 284 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 236: Restricted material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

During her lifetime, Toba Pato Tucker retains any and all copyrights she holds in the Toba Pato Tucker Photographs and Papers collection and full authority to control commercial use of materials in it. On her death, any copyrights she holds in the collection will transfer to Yale University.

During the lifetime of Ms. Tucker, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has the limited right to grant permission for no more than three of her photographs for reproduction in what it deems a scholarly publication. Individuals applying for such permission shall specify the publication in which the images will appear and pay Toba Pato Tucker $25 per published photograph for one-time, non-exclusive reproduction rights. All reproductions must include the complete original image without any cropping. The reproductions must also credit Toba Pato Tucker and have an accompanying statement indicating that she holds copyright. For further information, consult the Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Walter McClintock Memorial Fund, the Thomas W. Streeter Fund, the Hall Park McCullough Fund, and the Walter Jennings Memorial Fund, 2007.

The exhibition and work prints for the Native American Relocation Project were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Walter McClintock Memorial Fund, 2008.

The exhibition and work prints for the Shinnecock Indians of Eastern Long Island Portraits were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Walter McClintock Memorial Fund, 2010.

The exhibition prints for the Landscapes of the American West were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2011.

The exhibition prints for the Photographs of Africa were a gift of Toba Pato Tucker, 2011.

The exhibition prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolios #1, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2013.

The work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #1, were a gift of Toba Pato Tucker, 2013.

The exhibition prints and work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #2, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2015.

The exhibition prints and work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #3, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Walter McClintock Memorial Fund, 2017.

The exhibition prints and work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #4, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2017.

The exhibition prints and work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #5, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2020.

The exhibition prints and work prints for Re Viewing the American Landscape, West & Southwest, Portfolio #6, were purchased from Toba Pato Tucker on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2019.

Arrangement

Organized into four series: I. Photographs, circa 1970-2003. II. Project Files, circa 1950-2005. III. Personal and Professional Papers, circa 1965-2006. IV. Additions 2008-2011, 1995-2011. V. Re Viewing the American Landscape West & Southwest, 2012-2017.

Extent

260.75 Linear Feet (314 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.tobapatotucker

Overview

Portraits of individuals from other communities and locales include street portraits of pedestrians in New York City; residents of a drug rehabilitation program at facilities throughout New York State; the people of Heber Springs, Arkansas, the rural town photographed decades earlier by Mike Disfarmer; and African American members of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, New York. Tucker's commission work includes portraits of individuals, couples, and families. Her personal photography projects include portraits of family members, friends, and bodybuilders, as well as seascape and landscape photography.
The subjects for Tucker's portraiture have come principally from Native American populations. These include members of the Onondaga Nation, Shinnecock Indian Nation, Navajo Nation, and Montaukett Indians. Tucker has also documented Native American artists from pueblos throughout the southwestern United States.
This collection documents the career of Toba Pato Tucker as a portrait photographer, circa 1950-2011, and landscape photography since 2010, with the bulk of the collection from 1977 to 2017. The photographic materials in this collection consist of exhibition prints, work prints, and negatives for nine major projects, as well as her commission work and personal photography. The papers largely support her photographic work and consist of her project files, which include background research, correspondence, and oral history interviews. The papers also include exhibition catalogs, publications, and publicity material produced for projects, as well as a small amount of personal papers.

Toba Pato Tucker (born 1935)

Toba Pato Tucker refers to herself as "a contemporary American documentary portrait photographer" who "strives to record continuity and change in American culture for history and artistic purposes with a particular interest in Native American populations."

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Toba Pato married Robert Paul Tucker (Yale 1944) in 1956. They, and their daughter, Dena Suzanne Tucker, lived in West Hartford, Connecticut. After the marriage ended, Toba Pato Tucker returned to New York City.

Initially a self-taught amateur photographer, Tucker began her professional career after attending a workshop taught by Harold Feinstein in 1976. In her early work, she used a Pentax camera that exposed thirty-five millimeter film. In 1976, she bought a used Hasselblad camera that exposed 120 millimeter film. The following year her friend and mentor Toby Old helped her master the intricacies of the Hasselblad as well as how to develop black and white film and print fine art silver gelatin photographs. Although Tucker occasionally used other cameras, the Hasselblad was her primary camera for the remainder of her career. Primarily a black and white photographer, Tucker occasionally used color negative film. From 1978 to 1980, she taught at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Over her career, the subjects for her portraiture have chiefly come from Native American populations. These include members of the Onondaga Nation, Shinnecock Indian Nation, Navajo Nation, and Montaukett Indians. Tucker has also documented Native American artists from pueblos throughout the southwestern United States.

Tucker also created portraits of individuals from other communities and locales, including street portraits of pedestrians in New York City and Minneapolis, Minnesota; residents of Day Top Village, a drug rehabilitation program with facilities throughout New York State; the people of Heber Springs, Arkansas -- the rural town photographed decades earlier by Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959); and African American members of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, New York. During her work with residents of Day Top Village and Heber Springs, Tucker taped oral history interviews with her portrait subjects.

In 2012, Tucker began concentrating on landscape photography, epitomized by a project to document the American West using the work of nineteenth century photographers as reference points.

In her commission work, Tucker created portraits of individuals, couples, and families. Other projects included portraits of family members, friends, and bodybuilders, as well as seascape and landscape photography.

Processing Information

Exhibition prints in the collection are individually described based on language provided by Tucker. The remaining photographic materials are described in groups according to their particular project and arranged chronologically based on the dates of image creation except where noted. The titles for individual projects derive from names given by Tucker.

Folders 3136-3137, 2858, 2860, and 2865-2866 are unused. Original audiocassettes are now housed in box 284. Restricted fragile material.

Folders 2982-2983 are unused. Original audiocassettes are now housed in box 198. Restricted fragile material.
Title
Guide to the Toba Pato Tucker Photographs and Papers
Author
by Matthew Daniel Mason
Date
August 2008
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

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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.