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University of Texas at Austin

Jack Harris:

An Inventory of His Papers at The Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Harris, Jack, 1914-1985
Title: Jack Harris Papers
Dates: 1941-1995, undated
Extent: 44 document boxes (18.48 linear feet)
Abstract: The Jack Harris Papers include screenplays, photographs, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as some personal papers of Jack Harris, one of Hollywood's most notable still photographers.
Call Number: Film Collection FI-013
Language: English
Access: Open for research. Most of the photographs and negatives in the collection have been sleeved, but patrons must use gloves when handling unsleeved photographic materials.

Administrative Information

Processed by: Jacqueline Muñoz and Amy Armstrong, 2012

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Jack Harris was born on July 16, 1914. His photography career started in the Air Force during World War II when he was assigned to the 18th AAFBU Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. Harris also underwent aerial photography training in the 3415th Technical Training Group at Lowry Fields in Denver, Colorado. Much of his military career consisted of working on propaganda film sets in support of the U.S. war effort.
After the war, Harris worked freelance, photographing models and industrial scenes. His first film still production assignment came in 1947 with The Wild Harvest, followed by Tumbleweed Trail in 1948. From 1955 until the end of his career, Harris averaged two films per year, for a total of seventy-five known film still photography projects. He worked for numerous production companies; some of the notable include Paramount, United Artists, Universal, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, and Columbia Pictures. He completed his last film still project in 1982 with Hammet.


In addition to material found within the Jack Harris Papers, the following sources were used:
Histopolis: Collaborative Genealogy & History, (accessed 13 July 2012).
Imdb. 1990-2012. An Company, (accessed 13 July 2012).

Scope and Contents

The Jack Harris Papers span from approximately 1941 to 1995, and include screenplays, photographs, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as some personal papers. The papers are organized into two series: I. Films, 1941-1995, undated; and II. Personal and Professional Papers, circa 1940s-1970s, undated.
Series I. Films makes up the bulk of the papers and includes publicity stills, as well as "behind the scenes" shots taken by Harris. The films are arranged alphabetically by film title with a small segment of unidentified films. Of the seventy-five known films that Harris photographed, the papers include materials from fifty-nine of them. Most of the files include a film script, 8x10 or 11x14 photographs, and contact sheets which provide a more comprehensive look at all the photos he took on set. Some notable films represented in the collection include The Magnificent Seven (1960), Kid Galahad (1962), West Side Story (1961), The Great Escape (1963), Evel Knievel (1971), The Hallelujah Trail (1965), Thief (1981), and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).
The small amount of personal material present in the collection mostly pre-dates Harris's work in Hollywood and consists largely of material from his time in the military during World War II. Series II. Personal and Professional Papers is arranged into three subseries: A. Photography, circa 1940s-1970s, undated; B. Military, circa 1940s-1952; and C. Commercial, circa 1940s.
Subseries A. Photography includes assorted material associated with Harris's photography career and includes his 1978 resume, a photographic time interval calculator, and personal photographs in the forms of stills, slides, and negatives.
Subseries B. Military includes Air Force training and propaganda stills and negatives, photo scrapbooks, publicity stills, training manuals, and the Lowry Fields orders from Capt. Ronald W. Reagan.
Subseries C. Commercial includes items associated with Harris's commercial photography career. Included are postcards requesting information for the Foto-Sig unit, commercial photograph portfolio with rates, and stills and negatives of products, portraits, and female models.

Separated Material

A 16mm film titled Photography School Motion Picture completed at Lowry Field during World War II was transferred to the Ransom Center’s Moving Image Collection.

Index Terms


Stills (Motion Pictures)–United States.
Motion Pictures, American.
Photography, Artistic.

Document Types

Moving images.

Container List