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Briscoe Center Acquires the Ron Bennett Photographic Archive
Pulitzer Prize Nominee Covered Nixon Resignation, Robert Kennedy Assassination

September 16, 2014

President Richard Nixon wearing a bow tie for St. Patrick's Day. Photo by Ron Bennett
President Richard M. Nixon with bow tie on Saint Patrick's Day.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Briscoe Center has acquired the archive of Pulitzer Prize–nominated photojournalist Ron Bennett. Bennett was on the scene in June 1968 when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot. He documented many other historic events including Richard Nixon's resignation in August 1974, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in March 1979, and the Camp David Peace Accords in September 1978.

"Ron Bennett's body of work covers the shared experience of Americans over the past half century," said Don Carleton, executive director for the Briscoe Center. "Bennett's archive gives students and researchers the opportunity to peer behind his masterful pictures into the related correspondence, notes, and unpublished negatives that make this such a rich acquisition."

Bennett cited his personal love of history, the Briscoe Center's reputation for research, and the center's extensive photojournalism holdings as reasons for donating his archives.

"Photojournalism is covering history in the making," said Bennett. "I think of myself as a historian. I'm honored to have worked with some of the most dedicated photographers in the business in some of the most historic times."

Spanning six decades, the Ron Bennett Photographic Archive includes photographic prints, film negatives, transparencies, and printed materials. The bulk of the material is from Bennett's work for United Press International (UPI) between 1968 and 1988. A smaller number of photographs covers Bennett's time with the Oregon Journal and his post-UPI career. The archive contains a significant manuscript component, including presidential daily schedules Bennett collected during the course of his work and correspondence with politicians and other photojournalists.

Ron Bennett was born in Portland, Oregon. He began his career as a photographer at the Oregon Journal and later worked for UPI in Los Angeles, where he covered Hollywood, news, and sports. While working for UPI in Washington, Bennett was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his photographs of the assassination of Senator Kennedy in 1968. Later in his career he worked for the San Diego Union and the U.S. government. He retired in 2010.

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