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Category: Photography, Harvard University

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The Human Factor Introduction In the 1930s Harvard Business School colleagues Donald Davenport and Frank Ayres contacted leading businesses and requested photographs for classroom instruction—images Davenport hoped would “reveal the courage, industry and intelligence required of the American working man.” They amassed more than 2,100 photographs, from strangely beautiful views of men operating Midvale Steel’s 9,000-ton hydraulic press to women assembling tiny, delicate parts of Philco radios. Now students, and America’s aspiring corporate managers, had visual data to study “the human factor,” the interaction of worker and machine. But the pictures were more than documentary records.

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Introduction The Harvard-Yenching Library holds some 5,000 photographs and 10,000 negatives taken by Hedda Hammer Morrison (1908–1991) while resident in Beijing from 1933 to 1946. The photographs, mounted in thematic albums prepared by Mrs. Morrison, and the negatives, were bequeathed to the Harvard-Yenching Library, "the best permanent home for her vision of a city and people that she loved [Alastair Morrison]." All of the photographs contained in the 28 albums assembled by Hedda Morrison have been cataloged and digitized and can be viewed in VIA (Visual Information Access), the union catalog of visual resources at Harvard.

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Scope Daguerreotypes at Harvard provides access to over 3,500 daguerreotypes in libraries, museums, and archives across the University. The collection continues to grow as images are uncovered and new daguerreotypes are accessioned. The first publicly announced photographic medium, the daguerreotype process produced an image exquisite in its detail and tonal fidelity, and daguerreotypes remained popular throughout the 1840s and 50s. Together, Harvard holdings represent a collection of international significance and illustrate early uses of photography as a tool for artistic expression and scientific research in mid-19th-century America.

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