Rare Collection of Photographic Books and Journals Donated to Scripps College

CLAREMONT, Calif. (September 17, 2008) — A remarkable group of photographic books and journals, assembled by the late Marjorie and Leonard Vernon, leading Los Angeles photography collectors, has been donated to Scripps College. This collection is of particular interest for the many rare and out-of-print volumes it contains, as well as the number and variety of photographic journals. “The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection of Photographic Books is truly a superb addition to our library,” said Scripps Interim President Frederick Weis. “Students of photography at The Claremont Colleges, as well as faculty and regional scholars, will be delighted to have this marvelous new resource available for their research.”

“There are so many useful sources for teaching in the collection that I can name only a few,” remarked Associate Professor of Art History Mary MacNaughton, director of Scripps’ Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery. “The large clusters of books on key 20th century figures such as Walker Evans, Andreas Feininger, Andre Kértész, and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy are very special. Moreover, many of the works will serve as research sources for several artists in the Scripps collection, including Margaret Bourke-White, Roger Fenton, Helen Levitt, Edweard Muybridge and Alfred Stieglitz.”

The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection of Photographic Books will be housed in the Ella Strong Denison Library along with other special collections, most of which have been gifts from donors dedicated to the educational philosophy of Scripps College. “We actively encourage students to use special collections for scholarship as diverse as first year writing projects to senior theses,” explained Judy Harvey Sahak, the Sally Preston Swan Librarian for the Denison Library. “The Vernon Collection expands opportunities for students to undertake primary research with special collections.”

When the Vernon Collection is processed and fully cataloged, it will be kept in an environmentally stable and secure area of the library. Though not in the “open stacks” area, anyone wishing to see an item may request it. Users will first be instructed on the proper handling of rare and special materials. Both MacNaughton and Sahak anticipate faculty and students, as well as other scholars, will be eager to utilize the collection. It will be of interest to researchers studying photographic processes, the history of photography, and material culture, among other subjects.

Susan Rankaitis, noted photographer and Fletcher Jones Professor of Studio Art at Scripps, agrees, and remarked that this gift is entirely in keeping with the emphasis the Vernons always placed on supporting those involved with photography: “For many of us who are artists, gallerists, curators, or simply lovers of photographic art, Marjorie and Leonard Vernon were the heart of the photographic community in Southern California,” she said.

The collection is the generous gift of the Vernon’s daughter, Carol Vernon, and her husband, Robert Turbin. A splendid addition to the special collections at Scripps, their gift will enrich teaching and learning about photography at the college for many years to come.

About Scripps College

Scripps College was founded in 1926 by Ellen Browning Scripps, a pioneering philanthropist and influential figure in the worlds of education, publishing, and women’s rights. Today, Scripps is a nationally top-ranked liberal arts college and women’s college with approximately 950 students, and is a member of The Claremont Colleges in southern California. The mission of Scripps College is to educate women to develop their intellects and talents through active participation in a community of scholars, so that as graduates they may contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.


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