Minor White, Front Avenue, Portland, 1939Minor White (1908–1976) was one of the most important photographic artists of the twentieth century. In a career spanning four decades, he became a key figure in shaping a distinctly modern American photographic style.

The Minor White Archive, which entered the Princeton University Art Museum in 1976, is the most significant collection of primary source material by and about the artist. The Archive consists of more than 26,000 items, including photographic prints by White and by other artists, including his students; White’s proof cards, contact sheets, and negatives; journals, including his personal diary Memorable Fancies; manuscripts for both published and unpublished works; teaching notes; correspondence; videos and audio recordings; books; and other documents and ephemera. 

White was a methodical organizer. For most of the images destined for display in galleries and museums, he created what he called a “proof card,” an index card with a small reference print attached to the front, annotated with the numbering system he used to date his photographic negatives. The proof cards, especially those with detailed notes on their backs, form one of the best guides to White’s creative process and provide a surprising and compelling look at this legendary photographer.

The materials presented on this website will continue to be enhanced with additional material from the Minor White Archive—negatives, journals, correspondence, test prints, proof cards, and new discoveries—as they are processed. A valuable resource for artists, collectors, museums, and scholars, this site will ultimately serve as the single most comprehensive guide to Minor White’s photographic process and career.

Minor White Archive Finding Aid