Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
Manuscript Reading Room (Library of Congress)
  Home >> Finding Aids
------------------------------------------------------------
Outline view: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms007030
------------------------------------------------------------




John Vachon

A Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress

Prepared by Connie L. Cartledge

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/xmlcommon/lcseal.jpg

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Washington, D.C.

2006

Contact information: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/mss/address.html

Finding aid encoded by Library of Congress Manuscript Division, 2007

Finding aid URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms007030

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Selected Search Terms

Names:

Subjects:

Occupations:

Administrative Information

Provenance:

Copyright Status:

Restrictions:

Preferred Citation:

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note

Related Materials

Arrangement of the Papers

Container List

Collection Summary

Title: Papers of John Vachon
Span Dates: 1913-1995
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1935-1959)
ID No.: MSS85246
Creator: Vachon, John, 1914-1975
Extent: 4,000 items; 12 containers; 4.6 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Abstract: Photographer. Correspondence, family papers, writings, and miscellaneous material relating primarily to Vachon’s career as a photographer with the Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information, and Look magazine.

Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person or organization, by subject or location, and by occupation and listed alphabetically therein.



Names:
Vachon, John, 1914-1975
Lange, Dorothea
Monroe, Marilyn, 1926-1962
Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-
Stryker, Roy Emerson, 1893-1975
Vachon, Ann O’Hara--Correspondence
Vachon, Millicent--Correspondence
Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983.
United States. Army
United States. Farm Security Administration
United States. Office of War Information
Catholic University of America--Students
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

Subjects:
Look
American periodicals--New York (State)--New York
Authors
Depressions--1929--United States
Entertainers
Jazz
Motion pictures
Photography--Poland
Photography--United States
Poverty--United States
World War, 1939-1945
Camp Blanding (Fla.)
United States--Economic conditions--20th century
United States--Politics and government--20th century
United States--Social conditions--20th century
United States--Social life and customs--20th century
Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs

Occupations:
Photographers

Administrative Information

Provenance:

The papers of John Vachon, photographer, were transferred from the Prints and Photographs Division to the Manuscript Division in 2005.

Copyright Status:

The status of copyright in the unpublished writings of John Vachon is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Restrictions:

Restrictions apply governing the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a reference librarian in the Manuscript Division concerning these restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Container number, John Vachon Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Biographical Note

Date Event
1914, May 19 Born, St. Paul Minn.
1934 B.A., St. Thomas College, St. Paul, Minn.
1936-1937 Assistant messenger, Farm Security Administration, Washington, D.C.
1937-1940 Junior file clerk and unofficial photographer, Farm Security Administration, Washington, D.C.
ca. 1938 Married Millicent (“Penny”) Leeper (died 1960)
1940-1942 Junior photographer, Farm Security Administration, Washington, D.C.
1942-1943 Photographer, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C.
1943-1944 Photographer, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey
1945 Served in United States Army
1945-1947 Photographer in New Jersey and Venezuela for Jersey Standard
1946 Photographic assignment, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, Poland
1947-1949 Staff photographer, Life magazine, New York, N.Y.
1947-1971 Staff photographer, Look magazine, New York, N.Y.
1961 Married Françoise Fourestier
1971-1975 Freelance photographer, New York, N.Y.
1975 Visiting lecturer in photography, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minn.
1975, Apr. 20 Died, New York, N.Y.

Scope and Content Note

The papers of John Felix Vachon (1914-1975) span the years 1913-1995, with the bulk from 1935 to 1959, and consist of family papers, general correspondence, lecture notes, writings, financial papers, notes, clippings, and printed matter. The focus of the papers is Vachon’s career as a photographer. The collection is arranged in three groups: family papers, general correspondence, and subject file.

The family papers consist chiefly of Vachon’s letters to his mother, Ann O’Hara Vachon, and his first wife, Millicent “Penny” Vachon. These letters provide descriptions of many of Vachon’s assignments as photographer chiefly for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), 1937-1942, the Office of War Information (OWI), 1942-1943, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, 1943-1944, and Look magazine, 1947-1959. They document his extensive travels across America for FSA and OWI, focusing on rural areas and small towns during the Depression and the country’s mobilization during World War II. The family correspondence reflects the variety of Vachon’s assignments, including politics, religion, poverty, and stories about entertainers and writers such as Marilyn Monroe and Tennessee Williams. Also in the family papers are letters chronicling his student days at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., 1935-1936; descriptions of living in Washington from 1935 to 1939; detailed accounts of his training and duties while in the United States Army at Camp Blanding Florida, 1945; and his work for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Poland, 1946. The correspondence conveys his passion for jazz music and movies and includes his observations about American social life and mores. The family papers also contain genealogical material relating to the Vachon family.

The subject file reflects Vachon’s lifelong desire to be a writer and consists chiefly of his articles, essays, short stories, and poetry. Also located in this file is a transcript of a conversation in 1952 between Roy Emerson Stryker, the director of the FSA project, and FSA photographers, including Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Vachon, discussing their work.

Related Materials

The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress has custody of John Vachon’s photographic collection of prints and negatives. His work is also represented in that division’s Farm Security Administration Collection and Look Magazine Photograph Collection.

Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Container List

Container Contents
BOX 1 Family papers
BOX 1 Correspondence
BOX 1 Originals
BOX 1 Miscellaneous relatives, 1938, n.d.
BOX 1 Vachon, Ann O’Hara (mother)
BOX 1 1935-1938
(13 folders)
BOX 2 1939-1944
(14 folders)
BOX 3 1945-1962
(14 folders)
BOX 3 Undated
(4 folders)
BOX 4 (5 folders)
BOX 4 Vachon, Henry (father), 1935-1943
BOX 4 Vachon, Millicent (“Penny”) (wife) See also Containers 9-10, Transcripts
BOX 4 1936-1940
(12 folders)
BOX 4 1941
BOX 4 Jan.-June
(2 folders)
BOX 5 July-Aug.
(3 folders)
BOX 5 1942
BOX 5 Jan.-Oct.
(14 folders)
BOX 6 Nov.
(2 folders)
BOX 6 1943-1945
(18 folders)
BOX 6 1946
BOX 6 Jan.-Feb.
(3 folders)
BOX 7 Mar.-Aug.
(6 folders)
BOX 7 1947-1950
(19 folders)
BOX 8 1951-1957
(19 folders)
BOX 8 1958
BOX 8 Jan.-Mar.
(2 folders)
BOX 9 Apr.-Dec.
(8 folders)
BOX 9 1959
(7 folders)
BOX 9 Vachon, Robert (brother), 1935-1945, 1955, n.d.
BOX 9 Transcripts, Millicent (“Penny”) Vachon See also Containers 4-6, Vachon, Millicent (“Penny”)
BOX 9 1940-1941
(2 folders)
BOX 9 1942
BOX 9 Jan.-Mar.
(2 folders)
BOX 10 Apr.-Nov.
(4 folders)
BOX 10 1943
BOX 10 Other papers
BOX 10 Miscellaneous, 1913-1918, 1944, 1952, 1962, n.d.
BOX 10 Vachon, Ann O’Hara, 1939-1948, 1954-1959, n.d.
BOX 10 Vachon, Brian (son), 1979, 1991, n.d.
BOX 10 General correspondence, 1936-1937, 1944-1946, 1957, 1965
BOX 10 Subject file
BOX 10 Exhibitions of Vachon’s photographs, 1993-1995
BOX 10 Farm Security Administration, transcript of conversation with Roy Emerson Stryker and photographers, [1952]
BOX 10 Financial papers, 1937-1938, n.d.
BOX 10 Lecture notebook, 1974
BOX 10 Look magazine, 1969
BOX 10 Miscellany, 1985, n.d.
BOX 10 Travel notebook, ca. 1974
BOX 10 Travel notes, 1942
BOX 10 Writings by others
BOX 10 About Vachon, 1943, 1960-1965, 1971, 1979, 1989
BOX 10 Miscellaneous, 1954-1957
BOX 11 Writings by Vachon
BOX 11 Articles, essays, short stories, and other writings, 1933-1934, 1973, n.d.
(7 folders)
BOX 11 Correspondence with publishers and readers, 1956-1966, 1972, n.d.
(3 folders)
BOX 11 Notes and jottings, n.d. Undated
(3 folders)
BOX 12 (2 folders)
BOX 12 Poetry, n.d.
  Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Finding Aids
  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
  April 6, 2007
Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian