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Eve Arnold papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 611

Scope and Contents

The Eve Arnold Papers contains her photographs, negatives, slides, contact sheets, transparencies, diaries, film production files, writings by and about Arnold, printed materials, correspondence, and ephemera that document her career as a member of the Magnum Photos cooperative. In addition, the collection contains audiovisual materials including motion picture film, videocassettes, sound recordings, and computer media.

In this guide, dates assigned to photographs reflect the date of the original negative/story/job, as assigned by Arnold, and not necessarily the date of the actual photograph or contact sheet present in the collection. In many cases they may be the same, but Arnold and her contract printers continued to print from her negatives for many years in support of her exhibitions and publications. While the main sequence of negatives and contact sheets appears in group II of her papers, Arnold's exhibition and publication projects resulted in the dispersal of many negatives and contact sheets throughout the four acquisitions of material comprising the collection. In addition, other materials related to specific projects are also dispersed throughout the four groups. Arnold's chronology-based "story numbers" are referred to throughout the collection; her "story list" is filed in box 137.

As information in this collection guide was obtained from folder and other labels assigned by Arnold or her staff, note that their terminology is in some cases inconsistent; for instance, images made in the United Kingdom may be filed alphabetically under Britain, Great Britain, or U.K.


  • 1950-2005


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 57-59 (sound recordings): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 60-66, 134 and 204(audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 68-71 (motion picture film): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 72 (computer disks): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Eve Arnold 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 Eve Arnold on the Eugene G. O'Neill Memorial Fund and the Arthur Corbitt Hoskins Memorial Fund, 2003-2006.


Organized into four groupings: I. June 2003 Acquisition. II. August 2004 Acquisition. III. June 2005 Acquisition. IV. June 2006 Acquisition.

Material within this collection has been organized by acquisition reflecting the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time. Researchers should note that material within each acquisition overlaps with/or relates to material found in other acquisitions. For instance, photographic material can be found in all four groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each acquisition described in the Collection Contents section. Researchers should also note that similar material can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material was organized when it was received by the library.


88.9 Linear Feet (195 boxes + 6 rolls + 4 film reels)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Eve Arnold Papers contains her photographs, contact sheets, negatives, slides, transparencies, diaries, film production files, correspondence, writings by and about Arnold, printed materials, and ephemera that document her career as a member of the Magnum Photos cooperative. In addition, the collection contains audiovisual materials including motion picture film, videocassettes, sound recordings, and computer media.

Eve Arnold (1912-2012)

Eve Arnold, American photographer and photojournalist, was born in Philadelphia on April 21, 1912, the daughter of Russian immigrants William and Bessie Cohen. While in her late 20s she moved to New York, where she took a job in a Hoboken photo-finishing plant, married industrial designer Arnold Arnold, and began making her own photographs. Her formal education in photography consisted of a six-week course taught by Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in 1947. Her only child, Francis, was born in 1948.

Eve Arnold joined with Magnum Photos in 1951; she became an associate member of the photographers' collective in 1955, and in 1957 its first female full member in New York. The organization, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David "Chim" Seymour, followed Cartier-Bresson's dictum that "one must stay photographically in contact with the realities taking place in front of our lenses and not hesitate to sacrifice material comfort and security." In her work, Arnold traveled to document events, politics, personalities, society, and material culture in locations including Afghanistan, Africa, Cuba and the Caribbean, India, Europe, Egypt, the Soviet Union/Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom. She was also known for her documentation of American celebrity culture through her images of film stars Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, and others at work, play, and home; she was the photographer on more than 35 movie sets, most notably The Misfits, a 1961 American drama directed by John Huston from a screenplay by Arthur Miller, which was the last film made by both actors Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Arnold also photographed groups as diverse as the 1952 American Republican National Convention, Malcolm X and his Muslim followers, and Mikhail Baryshnikov and the American Ballet Theatre dancers. Her work was regularly published in popular magazines, specialized periodicals, and a variety of books during her lifetime, and was featured in one-woman shows and group exhibitions in the United States and Great Britain; she received honorary degrees from the University of St. Andrews and the University of Sheffield. Arnold wrote or co-authored more than a dozen books including The Unretouched Woman (1976), Flashback! the 50's (1978), In China (1980), In America (1983), Marilyn Monroe, an Appreciation (1987), Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre (1988), All in a Day's Work (1989), The Great British (1991), Film Journal (2002), and Handbook (with footnotes) (2004), in addition to her autobiographical volume Eve Arnold: In Retrospect (1995). She also produced and directed a film, Behind the Veil (1972), which examined harem life in eastern Arabia.

Eve Arnold moved to London in 1961 with her son Francis, and remained a resident of that city until her death there on January 5, 2012. Further biographical information can be found in the Photographers section of the Magnum Photos website,

Custodial History

The collection was packed and shipped from Arnold's studio in London; it retains her original order and enclosures, including her negative sleeves, her slide and publicity binders, and in some cases, photographs stored in commercial photo paper boxes.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below in four groups titled according to month and year of acquisition.

The finding aid for this collection is compiled from individual preliminary lists for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary lists were migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards and merged into a single file in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of individual lists; however, the content of the lists was neither modified nor verified.

As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part 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 and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call numbers: Uncat MSS 555, Uncat MSS 692, Uncat MSS 777, Uncat MSS 871.

Guide to the Eve Arnold Papers
by Beinecke Staff
August 2009
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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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.