A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Historic Prints Donated to Campus

April 29, 2014

UC Merced is now the steward of 66 silver gelatin prints by famous California photographers Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch.

The announcement was made during a March reception for the "Black Power*Flower Power" show, which featured their work, at the UC Merced Art Gallery.

“These pictures, paraphrasing Ansel Adams, will live here with us in our world, and we and visitors to our campus will observe and appreciate them as long as we are here,” School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Dean Mark Aldenderfer wrote in remarks that were shared on his behalf during the reception. “We are grateful to the Pirkle Jones Foundation for this lasting and wonderful gift.”

The donation, facilitated by art history Professor ShiPu Wang and Development and Alumni Relations, was made by the Pirkle Jones Foundation.

“I think Pirkle and Ruth-Marion would have been delighted to have their work at this repository,” said Jennifer McFarland, who was the foundation’s director at the time.

Both photographers have a connection to the Central Valley: They married in 1949 at the Yosemite home of famed photographer Ansel Adams. Baruch and Jones met as students attending America’s first fine arts photography program, started by Adams in 1946, at what is now the San Francisco Fine Arts Institute.

Jones came from a working-class family and grew up in Louisiana and Indiana. His interest in photography began in high school and his early work appeared in “U.S. Camera Annual” and “The American Annual of Photography.”

Baruch was born in Berlin, the daughter of a prominent neurosurgeon and wealthy socialite. Her family emigrated from Germany to New York in 1927. Baruch graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in English and journalism, and earned a master’s at Ohio University with a thesis on photographer Edward Weston.

The photographers’ works are in major museums’ collections nationwide. There are plans to make them available for faculty members and students to study for research projects or courses in a variety of disciplines.