University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Laura Wilson:

An Inventory of Her Papers and Photographs in the Photography Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center



Creator: Wilson, Laura, 1939-
Title: Laura Wilson Papers and Photographs
Dates: 1979-2004
Abstract: The Laura Wilson Papers and Photographs document her work with photographer Richard Avedon from 1979 to 1984, and resultant exhibitions and publications from 1985 to 2003.
Extent: 5 document boxes and 7 oversize boxes (12.2 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Biographical Sketch

Photojournalist Laura Wilson was born in 1939 and raised in New England. She married author, editor, and entrepreneur Robert A. Wilson, with whom she has three sons, Andrew, Owen, and Luke.

Always interested in photography and photojournalism, Wilson photographed her sons throughout their childhoods, and pored over books by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jacques Henri Lartigue, and Eugene Smith. Her professional career began in 1978 when she met photographer Richard Avedon through her husband's involvement with the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Wilson worked as an assistant to Avedon from 1979 to 1984 while he embarked on the project that culminated in his landmark exhibition In the American West at the Amon Carter Museum, and a book of the same title, in 1985. While in the field, Wilson documented their progress both on paper and film, and in 2003 she published a recollection of their experiences in Avedon at Work: In the American West.

Since her time with Avedon, Wilson has gained a reputation of her own working as a photojournalist. Her projects have taken her from photographing the life of a West Texas rancher, Watt Matthews, to capturing life in the Hutterite colonies of Montana over a fourteen-year period.

Wilson is the author of several books including Watt Matthews of Lambshead (1989), Hutterites of Montana (2000), and Grit and Glory: Six-Man Football (2003). Her work has been published in numerous magazines including Aperture, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, the Washington Post Magazine, Texas Monthly, and the Sunday Times (London). She and her husband reside in Dallas, Texas.


Scope and Contents

The Laura Wilson Papers and Photographs document her work with photographer Richard Avedon from 1979 to 1984, and resultant exhibitions and publications from 1985 to 2003.

The collection is organized into two series: Series I. “In the American West: Photographs by Richard Avedon” Project, and Series II. Avedon at Work: In the American West.

The first series comprises materials relating to Avedon, his project, and the resulting exhibition and book. There are notes taken by Wilson while traveling with Avedon, project updates submitted to the Amon Carter Museum, subject release forms, and some correspondence. The bulk of the material is clippings on Avedon and In the American West from 1979 to 2001. Also included are a few layouts for the exhibition and book, an exhibition catalog, and a transcript of the In the American West seminar held at the Amon Carter Museum on September 14, 1985.

Series II. documents Wilson's own publication and includes several folders of research notes and twenty-four work prints. Of note are the production materials which consist of a project overview, several typescripts and dummies, and sixty-four black-and-white publication prints used to make the book. In addition there is a small amount of correspondence between Wilson and Avedon and Wilson and her publishers, two publicity posters, and information on another seminar at the Amon Carter Museum in 2003.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research


Index Terms

Subjects
Avedon, Richard.
Documentary photography--West (U.S.).
Portrait photography--West (U.S.)--Exhibitions.
Document Types
Gelatin silver prints.

Separated Material

Audio-visual materials received with the collection (seven sound recordings and two videos, most of which are interviews with or about Avedon) have been transferred to appropriate collections in the Ransom Center. See the Audio-Visual Index at the end of this finding aid for additional information.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Gift, 2004 (G12399)

Processed by:

Mary Alice Harper and Liz Murray, 2004


Sources:

Dingus, Anne. "Her Three Sons."  Texas Monthly 24, no. 5 (1996): 132-139.

Wilson, Laura.

  • Avedon at Work: In the American West. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.
  • Hutterites of Montana. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.


Container List

Series I. "In the American West: Photographs by Richard Avedon" Project

Container
1.1 Amon Carter/Avedon Project, updates submitted by Wilson, 1979-1984
Container
1.2 Notes taken by Wilson during project
Container
1.3 Release forms for subjects, with two Polaroid photographs of five subjects
Container
1.4 Photocollage layout in four panels [for exhibition publicity?], inscribed and signed by Avedon "Laura Xmas 82"
Container
1.5* Exhibition catalog, 1985, with press release; layout of prints for In the American West, 1979-1984 (Abrams edition, 1985), with photocopies of selected images [*oversize removed to Box 11]
Container
Articles on "In the American West" [*oversize removed to Box 11]
Container
1.6 1979
Container
1.7 1980-1984
Container
1985
Container
1.8 June-August
Container
1.9-11 September
Container
2.1-2 September cont'd.
Container
2.3-4 October
Container
2.5 November
Container
2.6 December
Container
2.7 1986
Container
2.8 1987
Container
3.1 1989
Container
3.2 Correspondence (Avedon, Wilson, and the Amon Carter Museum), 1979-2003
Container
3.3 Transcript and reviews of "In the American West" seminar, Amon Carter Museum, 14 September 1985
Container
Articles on Avedon
Container
3.4 1978-1979
Container
3.5 1986-1989
Container
3.6 1991-1993
Container
3.7 1994
Container
3.8 1995
Container
3.9 2001-2002
Container
3.10 Interviews with Avedon, for the Boston Globe Magazine, April 5, 1987; corrected typescripts for Egoist, September 1984, and Italian Vogue[?], 1993



Series II. Avedon at Work: In the American West (2003)

Container
4.1-5 Research material, notes
Container
Production material
Container
4.6 Overview of project, with sample chapter
Container
4.7 Prefatory material and foreword, typescript draft
Container
4.8-9 Text, typescript drafts
Container
4.10 Corrected pages, typescript draft
Container
4.11 Notes on text and layout
Container
5.1-3* Book dummies [*oversize sample pages, layouts, and dust jackets, removed to Box 11; poster-size reproduction of photograph of Wilson and Avedon removed to Box 12]
Container
Publication photographs, black-and-white prints
Container
6 pp. cover-37 (2004:0030:0001-0016), 16 items [lack prints for the cover, pp. 2-3, and pp. 36-37]
Container
7 pp. 38-73 (2004:0030:0017-0032), 16 items
Container
8 pp. 74-101 top (2004:0030:0033-0048), 16 items
Container
9* pp. 101 bottom-back cover (2004:0030:0049-0064), 16 items [*print for pp. 102-103 (2004:0030:0050) removed to 6G:LP: W Box, Large; lack prints for pp. 112-113, 114-115, 116 and 129]
Container
10 Rejected photographs (2004:0030:0065-0088), 24 black-and-white prints [*2004:0030:0088 removed to 6G:LP: W Box, Large]
Container
5.4 Photocopy of published book
Container
Correspondence
Container
5.5 General, 1979-1986
Container
5.6 With Avedon, 1979-2003
Container
5.7 With publishers, 1986-2002
Container
5.8 From subjects to Avedon and Wilson, mostly photocopies, 1979-2004
Container
5.9* Publicity [*oversize poster for Wilson and Avedon appearance at the Ransom Center, November 21, 2003, removed to Box 11]
Container
5.10 Correspondence and guidelines in re Wilson lecture at Amon Carter Museum, 2003
Container
11-12 Oversize materials



Index of Audio-Visual Materials

  • Amon Carter (VHS)
  • Amon Carter Seminar, 14 Sept. 1985 (with subtitles, credits, etc.) (VHS)
  • Avedon, Richard. Interview by Laura Wilson. 5-6 Oct. 2001. (2 audio cassettes)
  • Avedon, Richard, Laura Wilson and Ruediy Hofmann. Avedon "In the American West," Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, 13 Mar. 1986 (2 audio cassettes)
  • "Beatrice Wood." I'm Too Busy to Talk Now. NPR, undated (audio cassette)
  • The Glenn Mitchell Show, Photography of American West, 26 Nov. 2003, KERA 90.1FM, North Texas Public Broadcasting, L. Wilson on Avedon at Work book (audio cassette)
  • Learning from Performers, 2 tapes, 20 Feb. 1987, Modern Language Center, Harvard University (audio cassette)
  • "Richard Avedon: A Sound Portrait," 1985, Connie Goldman Productions, Inc. (audio cassette)
  • Starr, Kevin. Lecture on Richard Avedon and In the American West. Phoenix Museum, 1 Oct. 1986 (audio cassette)

Index of Correspondence

  • Anderson, Stephen N.--5.8
  • Avedon, Richard--3.2, 5.5-6, 5.8
  • Baker, Hamp--5.5
  • Bencich, Mike--5.8
  • Bennett, Sandra--5.8
  • Bowen, J. David (Joshua David), 1930- --5.5
  • Brody, Jacqueline, 1932- --5.5
  • Brown family--5.8
  • Cabrera, Asunción--5.9
  • Cannon, Hal, 1948- --5.8
  • Christenson, A. John--5.8
  • Covey, Sandra L. --5.5
  • Cox, Norman R., Jr.--5.8
  • Dowell, Shelley--1.3, 3.2, 5.5, 5.8
  • Durando, Antonio R.--5.8
  • Duty, Michael--3.2
  • Fikes, Lee--3.2
  • Fischer, Ronald F.--5.8
  • Fisher, David--5.8
  • Flukinger, Roy, 1947- --5.8
  • Forten, Boyd--5.8
  • Fox, Randall D.--5.5
  • Garber, Dorothy E.--5.8
  • Gary, N. E. (Norman E.)--5.5
  • Garza, Rudolph C.--5.8
  • Geddes, Kathy--5.8
  • Grench, Charles--5.7
  • Gutierrez, Jose Angel--5.5, 5.8
  • Hamrick, David S.--5.9
  • Harrison family--5.8
  • Helmerich, W. H. (Walter H.), III--5.8
  • James, Paula--5.8
  • Janklow, Morton Lloyd--1.2
  • Knoll, John F.--5.8
  • Lampe, Mary M.--3.2
  • Losee, R. E. (Ronald E.)--5.5, 5.8
  • Marston, Betsy--1.2
  • Matzer, Laura--5.10
  • McKay, Stephanie J.--5.5
  • McKnight, Sara--1.2
  • McMurtry, Larry--5.8
  • Miller, Arthur, of Reserve Oil and Minerals Corp.--5.5
  • Morton, Robert Alan, 1934- --5.5
  • Price, Betty--5.8
  • Ranck, Lydia H.--5.8
  • Roca, C., Fr.--5.5
  • Rohrbach, John--5.10
  • Sandweiss, Martha A.--3.2
  • Stewart, A. D.--5.8
  • Stovall, James E.--5.8
  • Taylor, John A., of Oklahoma City, Okla.--5.8
  • Tyler, Ronnie C., 1941- --3.2
  • Varnedoe, Sam--5.8
  • Wakabayashi, Gregory--5.7
  • Wakabayashi, Hiro Clark, 1961- --5.7
  • Westheimer, Ellen W.--5.8
  • Whelchel, Harriet--5.5
  • Wilson, Laura, 1939- --1.1, 3.2, 5.5-8
  • Wilson, Owen, 1968- --5.8
  • Wilson, Robert A.--5.6
  • Young, Juanita--5.5