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Richard Zakia collection on Minor White

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0669

Scope and Contents

Collection includes color 10 snapshots and their negatives taken by Richard Zakia while visiting Minor White at his home in Cambridge, MA while they were working on "The New Zone System Manual" book in 1975. Minor White was teaching at MIT at the time. Subjects include Minor White,his Zen garden, Peter Lorenz and two young people. There is copy of a photograph taken by David Spindel of Minor White in 1963, and a color print of Minor White taken in 1975 by Dick Zakia. Also included in the collection is an unpublished manuscript of "Visualization Manual" given to Richard Zakia to review before White sent it to the publisher. Minor White died before Zakia was able to return the manuscript to him.[according to R. Zakia]


  • Creation: 1975-1976

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Minor M. White (born July 9, 1908, Minneapolis, Minn., U.S.—died June 24, 1976, Cambridge, Mass) American photographer and editor, is ranked with Ansel Adams, Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz and considered one of the masters of modern photography. Although he is better known for his black-and-white photography, he produced many color photographs. White took up photography while very young but set it aside for a number of years to study botany and, later, poetry. He began to photograph seriously in 1937. His early years as a photographer were spent working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Portland, Ore. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and in 1945 he moved to New York City, where he became part of a circle of friends that included the influential photographers Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz. His contact with Stieglitz helped him discover his own distinctive style. In 1946 White moved to San Francisco, where he worked closely with the photographer Ansel Adams. Adams’s zone system, a method of visualizing how the scene or object to be photographed will appear in the final print, formed another major influence on White’s work. The next year White succeeded Adams as director of the photography department of the California School of Fine Arts. During this period he also befriended photographer Edward Weston. In 1952 he returned to New York City and became editor of the influential photography magazine Aperture, which he and others founded that year, and Image, the journal of George Eastman House, which he edited from 1953 to 1957.

He helped to develop several generations of photographers, first at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where In 1955 he joined the faculty and taught photography one day a week until 1965, then the last ten years of his life teaching at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His archive contains nearly 9,000 35mm transparencies taken between 1955 and 1975. He bequeathed all of his personal archives and papers, along with a large collection of his photographs, to Princeton University.

Richard Zakia


0.25 Linear Feet (1 half document box)




Materials received from Richard Zakia, former Photography professor at RIT, on Minor White, a photographer and also a RIT photography professor. Materials include snapshots, photographs, and an unpublished manuscript of "Visualization Manual" by Minor White.


Collection is arranged by material type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was donated to RIT Archives in March 2010 by Richard Zakia. Accession number(s): 2010:089


  • The New Zone System Manual, White, Minor, Zakia, Richard, Lorenz, Peter,Morgan Press Inc.: Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in March 2017.



Richard Zakia collection on Minor White
RIT Archives
Jody Sidlauskas
20 March 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA