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Martin Harris Collection

Identifier: MSS 0368

Scope and Content

Representing over 40 years (from the late 1920s through the 1960s) in the professional career of photographer Martin Harris, the collection includes three boxes (1-3) of biographical ephemera (official documents from his private and military life, newspaper and magazine clippings, et cetera) and photo images of Martin Harris (with his family, with various celebrity photo subjects, humorous poses, et cetera). Six Boxes (4-9) contain various monographs and newspaper and magazine articles (in full or partial condition - often Harris only preserved the pages that contained his photographs) featuring published photographs by Martin Harris (subjects include: Airlines, American Express, playwright Philip Barry, Ingrid Bergman, the Brussels World's Fair, bullfighting, entertainers Eddie Cantor and Maurice Chevalier, comic books, jazz artist Eddie Condon, Albert Einstein, Dwight David Eisenhower, Clark Gable, artist Edward Hopper, Israeli tourism, stage and film director Elia Kazan, the Lambs Club, Willie Mays, Zero Mostel, record producer Mitch Miller, aviator William Piper, the Second World War, the United Nations, the West Point Military Academy, et cetera). Boxes 10 through 14 contain various photographs, slides and proof (contact) sheets by Martin Harris (filed alphabetically by subject). Subject headings include "Artists and Writers"- Box 10 (Peter Arno, Doris Caesar, Giorgio de Chirico, et cetera), "Business and Industry: - Box 11 (Bethlehem Steel, IBM, Massachusetts Investors Trust, Migros Grocery Stores, RCA. PM NEW YORK, et cetera) and "Miscellaneous Subjects" - Boxes 12 -14 (Baseball, Bullfighting, Fashion, boxer Joe Louis, Narcotics, Babe Ruth, Sarah Lawrence College, et cetera). Photographs of "Performers and Show Business Personalities" are filed in Boxes 15-19 (alphabetically by the subject name) including images of Steve Allen, Ray Bolger, Marlon Brando, Pablo Casals, Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Jackie Gleason, Burl Ives, Boris Karloff, Sophia Loren, et cetera The work of Martin Harris as a theatre and motion picture still photographer is showcased in Boxes 20 - 23 with production photographs from stage, screen and television. His extensive work as a staff photographer for STARS ANDSTRIPES during the Second World War is documented in Boxes 24-27 and miscellaneous color photo slides (Transportation and travel) have been collected in Boxes 28-31. Mid-20th Century "World Leaders and Politicians" photographs are alphabetically filed in Boxes 32 and 33 (Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill, Allen Dulles, Andrei Gromyko, Nikita Khrushchev, Adlai Stevenson, Josip Tito, Harry Truman, et cetera). The following boxes (34- 43) contain the photo negatives for all of the subject areas listed above. The last Box (44) contains an original 12 x 24 inch (22 x 32 inch with matting) pen and ink sketch of the "Bucks County Playhouse Grand Opening - Springtime for Henry" (July 1939) by famed theatrical artist Al Hirschfeld. The sketch (which includes a caricature of LIFE MAGAZINE photographer Martin Harris) was presented to Mr. Harris, by the artist, in 1939.


  • Creation: Circa 1925-1970



The collection is open for research, but researchers should speak with the curator, Jim Liversidge, prior to using the materials.

Biographical/Historical Note

From the 1930s through the late 1960s, photographer Martin Harris was an eyewitness to the history and culture of the mid-20th Century. He recorded images of Depression-era labor unrest for PM NEW YORK, the horrors of World War II for STARS AND STRIPES and the stars of stage screen, radio and television for COLLIER'S MAGAZINE, LIFE MAGAZINE and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. His iconic images of Dwight Eisenhower, Albert Einstein, Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Steve Allen, et cetera graced the pages of daily newspapers and weekly magazines across the United States and Europe. Mr. Harris began taking amateur photographs in the late 1920s graduating to "guest photographer" at hotels in the Catskills and "double truck" color photography for LIFE MAGAZINE in the mid-1930s. Born on February 4, 1908 in Manhattan, as Moses Haber, he legally changed his name to Martin Harris, for professional reasons, in 1939. The vast bulk of his work during this period was as a "people photographer" capturing the every-day life of the average American citizen. In his capacity as a staffer for STARS AND STRIPES during the Second World War, he served in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany photographing most of the Allied military brass as well as world leaders, weary GIs and Nazi POWs. Martin Harris' most famous work included a portrait of Albert Einstein at the Palestine Pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair (a LIFE MAGAZINE "Picture of the Week"), multiple photo essays featuring film legend Gloria Swanson, a color layout (COLLIER'S MAGAZINE) of Gary Cooper in an emotion-filled meeting with his "foster child" in a rural Italian village, a tour of Europe and the Middle East with the then New York City Mayor Robert Wagner in1955, the definitive documentation of the post-war rebirth of the German army under the supervision of NATO and a colorful tour of the1958 Brussels World's Fair. In his 40 year career, for various publications, Harris photographed an extensive list of celebrities including Mae West, Babe Ruth, Walter Winchell, artist Marc Chagall, Nelson Rockefeller, Paul Robeson, Richard and Dorothy Rodgers, Marilyn Monroe (at the famous NYC street photo-shoot for THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH), Marlon Brando, Yul Brynner, Burl Ives, Bert Parks, Samuel Goldwyn, photographers Margaret Bourke-White and Alfred Eisenstaedt, Jimmy Durante, NYC Mayor Lindsay, and many, many more. In his later years, he collaborated on children's books with his wife, Johanna Johnston (WHAT DOES A POLICEMAN DO? - 1959, et cetera), and he became a still promotional photographer for motion picture productions (BETRAYED starring Clark Gable, THE BIG COUNTRY starring Gregory Peck, SCANDAL IN SORRENTO starring Sophia Loren, ROB ROY: THE HIGHLAND ROGUE starring Richard Todd and Glynis Johns GIGOT starring Jackie Gleason, THE PRODUCERS starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, THE ODD COUPLE starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, et cetera). Martin Harris died in 1971.


27 Linear feet (44 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Professional photographs (color and black and white), photo negatives (color and black and white), color photo slides, proof (or contact) sheets, publications, books and biographical ephemera featuring the work of career news and entertainment photographer Martin Harris whose art was featured in most of the major newspaper and magazines of the mid 2Oth Century (PM NEW YORK, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LITERARY DIGEST, PICTURE POST, LIFE, COLLIER'S, STARS AND STRIPES, YANK, FORTUNE, PRINTER'S INK, BUSINESS WEEK, WOMAN'S HOME COMPANION, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, THIS WEEK, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, CUE, TIME, ESQUIRE, et cetera).

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Dr. Gregg M. Harris and David Harris (Grandchildren of Martin Harris) in 2009.

A Guide to the Martin Harris Collection
Finding aid created by Jim Liversidge
October 2016
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America