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Atlanta University Photographs

Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0001

Scope and contents

This collection contains approximately 6000 photographs dating from 1858 to 1995, although the bulk of the material falls between 1905 and 1968. This collection is part of the Atlanta University Archives beginning with series 20 through 26. The material is arranged in seven series: Portraits, Events, Buildings and Grounds, Schools and Special Activities, Groups, Photo Album, and Oversized Photographs. The photographs consist of mostly students, alumni, faculty, administrative officers, campus events, and buildings of Atlanta University, however, there are photographs of people and places from all the Atlanta University Center schools. The majority of the photographs are identified and dated. The collection also includes photographs of a broad array of individuals not affiliated with the University, including such prominent persons as Josephine Baker, Ralph Bunche, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglas, A. Philip Randolph, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Booker T. Washington. The Atlanta University Photographs document not only University life, but capture its interaction with the larger community through the prominent visitors such as Atlanta Mayors Ivan Allen, Jr., Maynard Jackson, Martin Luther King, Sr., and Walter White, and historic events such as Memorial Services for John Hope and Whitney Young.


  • Creation: 1858-1995

Rights Statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Historical note

Seventy-two days following the end of the Civil War, the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.) Began formal educational work for African Americans in Atlanta. Edmund Asa Ware, the Educational Director of the A.M.A. in Georgia, promoted the idea of establishing a university to provide educational opportunity for the recently freed slaves and refugees of the war. The Atlanta University opened on October 13, 1869.

The University offered training for students of all ages including kindergarten, grade school, normal industrial, academy and college. In 1894, all pre-high school level work ceased, and during the first two decades of the twentieth century, the University phased out its high school courses. In 1929, Atlanta University affiliated with Morehouse and Spelman in a cooperative plan known as the Atlanta University System. Among the features of this system was a division of labor between the schools to eliminate unnecessary duplication of educational efforts. Under this plan, the University discontinued all undergraduate work and devoted its resources to graduate and professional education, while Morehouse and Spelman operated on a college level.

The Atlanta University Schools of Social Work, Library and Information Studies, Arts and Sciences, Education, Business Administration, and Library Services were all established between 1920 and 1946. On July 1, 1988, Atlanta University and Clark College consolidated to form Clark Atlanta University.


22 Linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into 7 series: Portraits, Events, Buildings and Grounds, Schools and Special Activities, Groups and Organizations, Photo Album, and Oversized Photographs.

Processing notes

The processing of this collection was made possible through a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The staff wishes to acknowledge this generous support and takes great pleasure in presenting the Atlanta University Photographs to the world community of scholars for examination.

Atlanta University Photographs, 1858-1995
In Progress
Finding aid authored by Paul Crater, Tanji Gibson, Antoine James, Trashinda Wright. Updated by Jessica Leming, 2023
2007, 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the AUC Institutional Records Repository