Bernie Boston photographs

RIT Archives

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical/Historical Information
Scope and Content
Additional Finding Aids
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Bernie Boston photographs
Creator - Photographer
Boston, Bernie, (1933-2008 )
Inclusive Date(s)
ca. 1980's
A collection of thirty-nine photographs taken by photographer and RIT alumni Bernie Boston. Most of the photographs were taken during the 1980's, some a bit earlier in his career.
2.0 Boxes (2 clamshell boxes)
C.S. North, Shelf 69
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Biographical/Historical Information (Collapse)

Bernie Boston was a news photographer best remembered for his 1967 picture showing an antiwar protester tucking carnations in the rifle barrels of soldiers guarding the Pentagon. He graduated in 1955 from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, attended the Air Force's School of Aviation Medicine and served in the Army for two years in Germany as a radiologist in a neurosurgical unit.

During a long career in Washington, where he was born, Mr. Boston covered every president from Lyndon B. Johnson to  Bill Clinton. He also captured intriguing moments of the civil rights movement and related news, including the  Poor People's Campaign and  President Richard M. Nixon shaking hands with protesters after the 1968 riots in Washington. Mr. Boston, who retired from the  Los Angeles Times, was working for the Washington Star on Oct. 21, 1967, when he took the image he called  "Flower Power."

He remained with the Star, an afternoon paper, until it folded in 1981 and then inaugurated a photo operation in the Los Angeles Times's Washington bureau. He retired from the Times in 1993 and settled the next year in the Shenandoah Valley. In 2000, he and his wife bought the Bryce Mountain Courier, a monthly newspaper.

In 1987, he took a memorable photograph of Coretta Scott King unveiling a bust of her slain husband, the  Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The image was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, as was his 1967 shot at the Pentagon protest.

He developed instincts about emotionally revealing moments, catching a grim-faced Pope John Paul II staring down the media in 1979 and first daughter Chelsea Clinton retrieving her father's notes after they dropped during his 1993 inauguration.

Mr. Boston received numerous professional honors, including the highest award of the National Press Photographers Association and induction into the Hall of Fame of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2006, the Rochester Institute of Technology published a collection of Mr. Boston's photos spanning 40 years.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

This collection of thirty-nine images contains published and unpublished black-and-white matted photographs. The majority were images taken while Bernie Boston was employed by the Los Angeles Times in the mid-to-late 1980's. Some of the subjects included in these photos are: Four Presidents at the White House, Lt. Col. Oliver North, US Marines, Presidents Bush and Reagan, and Hands Across America.

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Additional Finding Aids (Collapse)

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

Bernie Boston photographs

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Boston, Bernie, (1933-2008 )
  • Bush, George, 1924-
  • Butler, Owen
  • James S. Brady, (Scott)
  • North, Oliver
  • Reagan, Ronald, (Wilson)


  • Photojournalists


  • Military funerals
  • Photojournalists -- Washington (D.C.) -- 1950-1970
  • Presidents--United States--History--20th century.


  • Black-and-white prints (prints on paper)

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

Bernie Boston photographs, 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(s): 2012:055

Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the RIT Archive Collections by Owen Butler, RIT SPAS professor in June 2012.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in September 2012.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

Related Materials

RIT Archive Collections also holds the official Bernie Boston Archive donated by his wife after his passing in 2008. This vast collection of Bernie's work is currently unprocessed.

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