University of Texas at Austin

Ferne Koch:

An Inventory of Her Papers & Photographic Archive at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Koch, Ferne, 1913-2001
Title: Ferne Koch Papers & Photographic Archive
Dates: 1931-2000
Extent: 7 document boxes, 7 cartons, 9 flat boxes (25.3 linear feet)
Abstract: Photographic prints, negatives, slides, correspondence, printed material, scrapbooks, and ephemera document the life and work of American photographer and fashion consultant Ferne Koch.
Call Number: Photography Collection PH-1251
Language: English
Access: Open for research. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gift, 2003
Processed by: Kevin O'Sullivan, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Ferne Koch (née Goodman), was an American photographer and fashion consultant born in Houston, Texas, on April 8, 1913. Her interest in photography began in the 1940s as an aid to her work in the New York fashion industry, but it quickly expanded to all areas of her life.
In 1947, she married Arthur C. Koch, an engineer and World War II veteran with a strong interest in the arts. The two traveled extensively throughout their lives together, exploring Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. Ferne also traveled extensively on her own, while working as a fashion consultant researching lace, bridal designs, and new clothing styles. During every excursion she took many photographs, both in the course of her work and in artistic pursuits.
During the Korean War, Arthur Koch was recalled by the Army and stationed at Ft. Rucker in Daleville, Alabama. As Ferne adjusted to the life of a war bride, she photographed the lives of the residents of the Wiregrass region. These images, and others taken throughout the southeast, would go on to earn her national recognition. From 1951 to 1961, she was represented by the New York photographic agency, Pix, and she exhibited her work in Houston, Seattle, and New York. From the mid-1950s through the mid-1980s, her work was not exhibited, but in 1986 she began printing and exhibiting her photographs once more. She passed away on October 13, 2001.


Dallas Museum of Art. Beaux Arts Ball [auction catalog]. Dallas, Tex.: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997.
Koch, Ferne. Photographic studies: Daleville & Blakely 1950-51, Paris 1948-1955. Dallas, Tex.: Documentary Arts, Inc., c1990.

Scope and Contents

Photographic prints, negatives, slides, correspondence, printed material, scrapbooks, and ephemera document the life and work of Ferne Koch. The collection is organized into the following four series: I. Photographic Materials; II. Fashion Files; III. Personal Files; and IV. Works by Others.
Koch's photographic output is arranged chronologically, with materials being grouped by location per the creator's original order. Large prints are housed together in flat boxes, and all negatives have been separated to box 14. Featured prominently are photographs taken in Daleville, Alabama, Blakely, Georgia, and Paris, France. Also present are photographs taken during several trips to Europe, throughout the United States, Mexico, and the Far East, among others.
Koch devoted most of her professional life to fashion. Series II. documents her work in this field with both photographic and paper materials. Among the former are slides, which Koch used as presentation tools. Also present are research materials and materials relating to her involvement with Fashion Group, a professional organization that caters to those working in the fashion industry.
Series III. contains materials pertaining to the exhibition of Ferne Koch's photographs, several of the Koch family's homes, their travels, involvement in the arts, as well as family photographs, scrapbooks, and correspondence. The exhibition materials contain mostly snapshot photographs of Koch at events in the 1980s and related printed materials. Some of these appear again in scrapbooks, as do an array of materials related to travel, fashion, and the arts. The correspondence, which dates 1942-1997, pertains to all areas of Koch's life and work.
Included in Series IV. are prints by other photographers, including Jameson Baker, P. Greenberg, and Debora Hunter.

Index Terms


Koch, Ferne, 1913-2001


Women photographers


Blakely (Ga.)
Daleville (Ala.)
Paris (France)

Document Types

Black-and-white negatives
Gelatin silver prints

Container List