Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans papers
Scope and Contents
The Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans Papers contain photographic prints, slides, negatives, correspondence, notebooks, drafts of writings, objects, and audiovisual material documenting the careers of Carl Mydans, a photojournalist, and Shelley Smith Mydans, a journalist and novelist. The material dates from 1930 to 2005 and provides insight into various periods of the Mydans’ careers, from their work for Life magazine to their book projects.
Carl Mydans’ photography is evident in the various prints, slides, and negatives found in the collection. Mydans’ extensive research files and notebooks provide a broader context for his photographs. In his notebooks Mydans recorded his research assignments, insights into his subject material, responses to interview questions, and details regarding camera equipment. The papers also include objects relating to Mydans' work as a photojournalist, such as his camera bag and awards from Kodak and TIME.
Shelley Smith Mydans’ work as a journalist and novelist can be traced in the various research files, drafts, and other material relating to her publications, which included The Open City (1945), Thomas: A Novel of The Life, Passion, and Miracles of Becket (1965), and The Vermilion Bridge (1980). As the papers illustrate, the Mydans also worked on books together, as seen in the drafts, contracts, and other material pertaining to their book The Violent Peace (1968).
To a lesser degree the papers also shed light on the Mydans’ personal and professional relationships, which included other photographers and journalists, such as Alfred Eisenstaedt ("Eisie").
- 1930 - 2005
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Box 166 (audiocassettes): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans 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
Gift of Carl Mydans, Shelley Mydans Griffing, and Seth Mydans, 2005, 2015.
December 2015 Acquisition: Purchased from Shelley Mydans and Seth Mydans on the Sinclair Lewis Fund, 2015.
Organized into six series: I. Photographs, 1930-1992. II. Subject Files, 1942-2000. III. Personal and Professional Papers, 1962-2000. IV. Writings and Other Papers, 1956-2005. V. Audiovisual Material, 1977-1999. VI. November and December 2015 Acquisitions, 1934-2015.
110.22 Linear Feet ((213 boxes) + 1 roll)
Language of Materials
The Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans Papers contain photographic prints, slides, negatives, correspondence, notebooks, drafts of writings, objects, and audiovisual material documenting the careers of Carl Mydans, a photojournalist, and Shelley Smith Mydans, a journalist and novelist. The material dates from 1930 to 2005 and provides insight into the Mydans' careers including their work for Life magazine and their book projects. The papers include photographs taken by Mydans while working for the Farm Security Administration, Life magazine, and Black Star photography agency. The Mydans lived and worked abroad for several years and their papers include photographs taken during their various assignments in Asia and elsewhere. Material relating to the Mydans' friends and colleagues, such as Alfred Eisenstaedt, can be found in the papers.
Shelley Smith Mydans (1915-2002)
Shelley Smith Mydans (1915-2002), American journalist and novelist.
Carl Mydans (1907-2004)
Carl Mydans (1907-2004), American photojournalist.
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 and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Uncat MSS 804 and Uncat MSS 825.
- Asia -- Pictorial works
- Audiocassettes -- 20th Century
- Audiovisual materials
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Black Star (Picture agency)
- China -- Description and travel
- China -- Pictorial works
- Eisenstaedt, Alfred, 1898-1995
- Hong Kong (China) -- Pictorial works
- India -- Pictorial works
- Indonesia -- Pictorial works
- Japan -- Description and travel
- Japan -- Pictorial works
- Journalists -- United States -- 20th Century
- Journalists -- United States -- Archives
- Korea -- Pictorial works
- Life (Chicago, Ill.)
- Malaysia -- Pictorial works
- Mexico -- Pictorial works
- Mydans, Carl, 1907-2004
- Mydans, Shelley Smith
- Negatives (photographic) -- 20th Century
- Philippines -- Pictorial works
- Photographic prints -- 20th Century
- Photographs -- 20th Century
- Photojournalists -- United States -- 20th Century
- Russia -- Pictorial works
- Singapore -- Pictorial works
- Slides (photographs) -- 20th Century
- Sound recordings -- 20th Century
- Thailand -- Pictorial works
- Tristan da Cunha -- Pictorial works
- Turkey -- Pictorial works
- United States -- Pictorial works
- United States. Farm Security Administration
- Vietnam -- Pictorial works
- War correspondents -- United States -- 20th Century
- War correspondents -- United States -- Archives
- War photography
- Women authors
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Photography
- Guide to the Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans Papers
- by Beinecke staff
- October 2013
- 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
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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.