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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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Center for American History

Mission of the Center
The Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin is an internationally-renowned history research center. As a special collections library, archive and museum, the Center supports research and education on the history of the United States by acquiring, preserving and making accessible research collections and by sponsoring exhibits, conferences, oral history projects, publications, fellowships and grant-funded initiatives. The Center features four divisions throughout Texas: Winedale in Round Top, the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum in Bonham, the John Nance Garner Museum in Uvalde, and the Research and Collections division in Austin.

Winedale in Round Top Sam Rayburn Library and Museum John Nance Garner Museum Research and Collections Division

Photos at the CAH: An Increasingly Important Part of American History

One of the most rapidly expanding collections is the Media History Archives, which includes materials from individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions to American news media. Of course, that includes photojournalists, and the Center has been developing its photographic resources for the past 15 years through the donations of a number of journalists—including Dirck Halstead, David Hume Kennerly, Wally McNamee and Diana Walker. "We believe that photojournalism is a key component of the way news is seen and perceived in this country today," says Don Carleton, Director of the Center. "So we've really made an effort to get entire archives of work from photographers that we think are among the best."

The images in these collections are visual evidence of events, places and people that have shaped and defined the American experience. They preserve a rich social and cultural record that supports the study and interpretation of history. Over the years, a number of the photographs have grown significantly in importance—from a civil rights leader at the beginning of his crusade to a future president honoring an American hero and that same president embracing an intern (see photos at right). When these photos were taken, it would have been difficult to predict how time would turn them from ordinary to extraordinary.

For access to additional photographs and to purchase rights, contact Alison Beck at the Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin. Additional information can be found at

Mission of the Center

Reading Photographs

Press and the Presidency

Additional Resources

See the photographs from the Center for American History

Young Jesse JacksonGovernor Bill Clinton and First Lady Rosalynn CarterPresident Clinton embraces White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Video Clip
Still from Photojournalism Archive at the Center for American History video
"Photojournalism Archive at the Center for American History"

Video Clip
Still from Burning Images video
"Burning Images"

The Briscoe Center for American History