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Eddie Adams photographic archive

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.03104

Scope and Contents

Measuring 204 linear feet in size, the Eddie Adams photographic archive spans Adams' entire career as a photojournalist in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to substantive coverage of the Vietnam War, the collection contains the photographer’s in-depth features on poverty in America, the homeless, Mother Teresa, Brazil, alternative society, anti-war demonstrations, and riots. The collection also includes his intimate portraits of such high-profile figures as Ronald Reagan, Elie Wiesel, Fidel Castro, Clint Eastwood, Bette Davis, Bill Cosby, and Jerry Lewis. The archive includes “Saigon Execution,” Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of General Loan executing a Vietnamese prisoner in 1968, widely considered to be one of the most influential photographs taken during the Vietnam War.

The archive is comprised of a wide range of media, including slides, negatives, prints, and audio and video materials, as well as personal calendars, field notes, assignment files, and tear sheets. The archive features both contract and freelance work Adams completed for newspapers and news services, including The Daily Dispatch, Evening $amp; Sunday Bulletin, the Associated Press, Time Magazine, and Parade Magazine.

Later accessions to the archive include materials pertaining to Adams’ work on Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World and include contact sheets, negatives, transparencies, slides, prints, photocopies of prints, and Polaroids, along with shoot information, model releases, correspondence, and other associated documentation.

The archive additionally contains scrapbooks and portfolio print books showcasing Adams’ early work; photographs of Adams; Adams’ work done for Contact Press Images, Inc., Sygma, and Gamma-Liaison photographic companies; books and publications featuring Adams’ work and publications he collected; camera equipment and accessories used by Adams in Vietnam; and videocassettes spanning much Adams’ professional career, most notably the Eddie Adams Workshops.


  • Creation: circa 1950-2016


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of this collection is stored remotely; contact repository in advance for retrieval.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; contact repository for more information.

Written permission is required to reproduce or publish collection material; contact repository for more information.

Biographical Note

Eddie Adams began his photography career as a high school student in Kensington, Pennsylvania. He served as a Marine combat photographer during the Korean War, and in 1962, he joined the Associated Press (AP). After 10 years, Adams left the AP for Time magazine and freelance work. In 1976, he rejoined the AP as the first and only photographer to hold the title of special correspondent.

While he was on assignment for the AP, Adams carried his camera through 150 operations in Vietnam. He also covered wars in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland, Lebanon, and Kuwait. “Boat of No Smiles,” his series on the Vietnamese boat people, persuaded the United States to admit 200,000 Vietnamese refugees at the end of the war.

From 1980 until his death in 2004, Adams was a photographer for Parade magazine, which featured more than 350 of his photos on its covers.

Adams was awarded more than 500 photojournalism awards during his lifetime, including the George Polk Award for News Photography in 1968, 1977, and 1978, the Robert Capa Gold Medal in 1977, and numerous awards from such organizations as World Press Photo, the National Press Photographers Association, Sigma Delta Chi, and the Overseas Press Club.


204 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The archive spans Adams' entire career as a photojournalist in the U.S. and abroad. It includes slides, negatives, prints, and audio and video materials, as well as personal calendars, field notes, assignment files, and tear sheets.


This material is arranged into thirteen series:

  • I. Early Newspaper Features, ca. 1950-1960
  • II. U. S. Marine Corps, ca. 1950s
  • III. Vietnam Photographs, ca. 1965 - 1977
  • IV. Celebrities & Portraiture, 1956-2001
  • V. Features, ca. 1962-2004
    • a. Prints, slides and negatives
    • b. Audio and video material
  • VI. Personal Materials, 1954-1959; ca. 1970s
  • VII. Scrapbooks and portfolio print books, ca. 1950s-2003
  • VIII. Manuscript Materials and working files, 1957-2004, 2016
  • IX. Digital Materials, ca. 1980s-2003
  • X. Exhibit Prints, ca. 1960-2000
  • XI. Speak Truth to Power/human rights project materials, 1997-2000
  • XII. Publications
  • XIII. Videocassettes

Series I: Early Newspaper Features includes material from Adams’ work for The Daily Dispatch and The Evening & Sunday Bulletin in Pennsylvania, between 1950 and 1960. Series II: U. S. Marine Corps Materials includes material from Adams’ time as a Marine combat photographer during the Korean War. Series III: Vietnam, chronicles Adams’ multiple operations in Vietnam with AP. Series IV: Celebrities & Portraiture and Series V: Features incorporates the majority of the collection materials and documents Adam’s later work with AP as special correspondent and with Parade magazine cover stories. Series VI: Personal Materials includes family portraits and snapshots taken of and by Adams. Series VII: Scrapbooks and portfolio print books includes albums of clippings, military photos, awards won, letters, prints, tear sheets, and photos of Eddie Adams. Series VIII: Manuscript Materials includes Adams’ assignment files, day calendars, reporter’s notebooks, and Bathhouse studio records. Series IX: Digital Materials includes a hard drive of 8,130 digital scans made by Adams. Series X: Exhibit Prints is comprised of prints mounted at a Briscoe Center exhibit. Series XI: Speak Truth to Power pertains to Adams’ work on Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, published by Umbrage Editions. Series XII: Publications contains books and other publications featuring Adams’ work and items collected by Adams. Series XIII: Videocassettes documents an array of Adams’ professional work, notably the Eddie Adams Workshop program.

Accession Number(s)

2009-109; 2009-198; 2009-260; 2009-369; 2010-179; 2010-300; 2010-339; 2011-314; 2011-365; 2012-108; 2016-296; 2016-297; 2018-161; 2018-162; 2020-132

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Halley Grogan, October 2011. Subsequent revisions were made by archives staff, 2012, 2016, 2018, and 2020.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.

Eddie Adams Photographic Archive, circa 1950-2016
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Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-03: Revisions made by Jessi Fishman to enter complete record into ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712