Richard Zakia collection on Barbara Morgan

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for Barbara Morgan
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Richard Zakia collection on  Barbara Morgan
Inclusive Date(s)
Materials related to Barbara Morgan, a photographer best known for her black and white dance photographs. Compiled by Richard Zakia, a former professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the collection contains correspondence, invitations and announcements, promotional items, publications, news articles, photographs, and biographical materials.
3.2 Linear feet (1 document box, 1 file box, 1 folder)
C.S. South, Shelf 338
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Biographical Information for Barbara Morgan (Collapse)

Barbara Brooks (née Johnson) Morgan (1900-1992) was born on July 8, 1900 in Buffalo, Kansas. Shortly after graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1923 with a degree in art, she joined the faculty at UCLA where she taught design, landscape, and woodcut. She married Willard D. Morgan in 1925 and the couple moved to New York City in 1930. Morgan opened her own art studio in New York the following year. Best known for her black and white photographs of dancers, she first began photographing performances in 1935.

During her lifetime, Morgan was honored with several awards. Her work was exhibited by several prestigious venues and her first book, Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs (1941), was given the American Institute of Graphic Arts Trade Book Clinic Award. She also received the National Honor from the Women's Caucus for Art, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Magazine Photographers, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition with Appreciation for Services and Achievement, the Annual Capezio Dance Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Photographic Insight Foundation. In 1984, the Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, NY even declared a "Barbara Morgan Day."

Morgan's husband died in 1967. The couple had two sons. Barbara Morgan died on August 17, 1992.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The Richard Zakia collection on Barbara Morgan contains correspondence, invitations, promotional items, publications, news articles, photographs, and biographical materials. The correspondence in the collection is mostly between Zakia and Morgan. The invitations are to several events such as Morgan's 90th birthday celebration and an exhibit featuring her work. Similarly, there are promotional materials such as brochures and exhibit catalogs to related events.

The collection also includes several publications. For instance, there is a copy of Aperture magazine that highlights Morgan's career. Incidentally, Morgan was one of the founders of the Aperture Foundation and its magazine. There are also several magazine issues featuring Morgan's work and news articles on the photographer and her career.

The photographs in the collection are mostly of Morgan's 90th birthday celebration. There is a portrait of Morgan taken by Marilyn Bridges in 1979 when Bridges was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), as well as a photograph of Morgan's visit to the Institute in 1989. The collection also includes some pieces of biographical information such as brief biographies and timelines.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection contains three separate accessions. Materials in the first part of the collection are arranged by type such as correspondence, invitations, exhibit announcements, and photographs. However, the second portion of the collection is currently unprocessed.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Bridges, Marilyn
  • Morgan, Barbara Brooks, 1900-1992
  • Morgan, Willard D., (Willard Detering), 1900-1967
  • Zakia, Richard D.


  • Dance photography
  • Photomontage -- Exhibitions
  • Women photographers -- New York (State) -- Rochester


  • Correspondence
  • Invitations
  • Photographs

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Richard Zakia collection on Barbara Morgan, RIT Archive Collections

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Accession Information

Accession number: 05:18

Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to RIT Archive Collections by Richard D. Zakia, a former professor of photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The materials were donate as three separate deposits.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in April 2011.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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