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Harry Ransom Center Acquires Archive of Photographer Fritz Henle

Fritz Henle (American, b. Germany, 1909–1993), [Nieves Orozco], 1943. Gelatin silver print (contact sheet). Fritz Henle Papers and Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center © The Fritz Henle Estate

Fritz Henle (American, b. Germany, 1909–1993), [Nieves Orozco], 1943. Gelatin silver print (contact sheet). Fritz Henle Papers and Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center © The Fritz Henle Estate

Fritz Henle (American, b. Germany, 1909–1993), [Nieves Orozco], 1943. Gelatin silver print (contact sheet). Fritz Henle Papers and Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center © The Fritz Henle Estate

The Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin recently announced that it has acquired the archive of German-born photographer Fritz Henle (1909-1993). Known for his use of a Rolleiflex camera, Henle worked as a photojournalist, a fashion photographer, a portrait photographer, and a documentarian.

In addition to publishing more than 20 books of photographs, throughout his 60-year career Henle worked for Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, LifeMademoiselle, Town & Country, and Holiday. Henle’s archives include, per the Ransom Center: “…about 180,000 black-and-white negatives, 10,000 color transparencies, 150 contact sheet books, 11 books of magazine clippings and tear sheets and thousands of work prints.” The collection was donated by the Henle Archive Trust.

Henle’s archive adds to the already immense and continuously growing holdings of the Harry Ransom Center. Earlier this year, the institution announced its acquisition of playwright Arthur Miller’s archive, and in 2017 it accessioned the Dean F. Echenberg War Poetry Collection and the archives of actor Peter O’Toole. The Center also has large holdings of documentary and art photography.

In 2009, the Ransom Center organized a retrospective of works by Henle titled Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty. Roy Flukinger, the curator of that exhibition, talked about the legacy of Henle’s works:

“Henle remained the champion of what he defined as ‘beauty’ in photography and, regardless of the subject matter he encountered, always strove to find an aesthetically pleasing approach to what came before his camera.”

Henle’s archive will be available to researchers once it is processed and cataloged.

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