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In Memoriam: Ron Bennett

Photo of Ron Bennett on assignment at the White House by an unidentified photographer, e_rtb_0099 Photo of Ron Bennett with Robert F. Kennedy the night Senator Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Photo by UPI colleague David Hume Kennerly, e_rtb_0052

(left) Photo of Ron Bennett on assignment at the White House by an unidentified photographer, e_rtb_0099. (right) Photo of Ron Bennett with Robert F. Kennedy the night Senator Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Photo by UPI colleague David Hume Kennerly, e_rtb_0052.

The Briscoe Center pays tribute to renowned photojournalist and Briscoe Center donor Ronald T. Bennett, who died November 7, 2020.

Oregon native Ron Bennett aspired to be a photojournalist from an early age. His first job as a photographer was with the Lake Oswego Review while he was still in high school. After graduation, he landed a position as a staff photographer at the Oregon Journal, which was followed by positions with United Press International (UPI) in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.; the San Diego Union; and the executive branch of the U.S. government. During his decades-long career, Bennett photographed presidential administrations beginning with John F. Kennedy and ending with George W. Bush. He also covered many of the leading news stories of the era, including the 1965 riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles; the murder of actress Sharon Tate; anti-Vietnam War demonstrations; the Watergate hearings; the return of POWs from Vietnam; Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974; the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island; the eruption of Mount St. Helens; the fall of the Shah of Iran; the U.S. space program; the Olympics and many other sporting events; and political campaigns.

While at UPI, Bennett was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his photographs of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. He has received numerous other photo honors, including awards from the National Headliners, White House News Photographers, National Press Photographers, World Press Photo, California News Photographers and Los Angeles News Photographers. Bennett retired in 2010 and donated his archive to the Briscoe Center in 2013.

Altogether, the archive spans six decades, 1959--2010 and contains 22 linear feet of photographic prints, film negatives, and transparencies. There is also a significant manuscript component, including presidential daily schedules, correspondence with politicians, and personal files related to his photojournalism career.

“Ron Bennett’s photographic archive will serve as an invaluable visual resource for future generations of researchers wanting to understand the history of our time,” said Don Carleton, executive director for the Briscoe Center. “His photographic work documents the shared experience of Americans over the past half century."

A guide to Bennett’s archive is at

https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/03459/cah-03459.html

A selection of Bennett’s images can be viewed at

https://www.cah.utexas.edu/db/dmr/dmr_result.php?find=Ron+Bennett

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