Ed Clark (1911–2000) was a quintessential and prolific American photojournalist. Born in Bedford County, Tennessee, Clark began assisting staff photographers at the Nashville Tennessean in 1929 at age 18, and went on to work full-time for the paper until 1942. He was approached by Life in 1936, its inaugural year, and began his long tenure with the magazine in 1942, where he eventually worked alongside Gordon Parks. In his work for Life over the next two decades, Clark held posts in Nashville, Paris, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Enormously talented and versatile, he was given a wide range of assignments, from political figures and events to Hollywood’s celebrities to charming human interest stories. Working in both the United States and Europe, he covered some of the most important subjects of his time. Clark recorded the Nuremberg war crimes trials; the postwar rebuilding of Germany and France; the people and arts of the Soviet Union in 1955 (as one of the first American photographers admitted in decades); the campaigns and administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower; the struggle for civil rights throughout the American South; and the rise of John F. Kennedy from senator to president. Clark’s full-time position with Life ended in late 1961, as a result of broad budget cuts. By that time, Clark had discovered that his eyesight was failing. This condition was remedied by surgery about twenty years later, and Clark returned to making photographs in his later years. He died in 2000, at his home in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 88.

The Ed Clark archive includes more than 10,000 prints, negatives, contact sheets, and color transparencies. It also includes voluminous personal scrapbooks with tear sheets, newspaper clippings, telegrams and letters, passports, visas, ID badges, and more. These images and artifacts offer a rich perspective on Clark’s career. They give a sense not only of his published images, but also of his personal and professional contacts, the logistics of travel and access, and his own renown as a public figure.

Access to the Ed Clark archive is limited. For more information, email info@mkfound.org.