Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, 1943-1975, #C0036

Dublin Core


Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, 1943-1975, #C0036


Oliver F. Atkins was born February 18, 1916 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Alabama in 1938, and accepted a position with the Birmingham Post as a staff photographer. Within two years he became chief photographer for the Scripps Howard-owned paper. In 1940, he joined the Washington Daily News where he remained until 1942 and the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he served as a correspondent and photographer for the American Red Cross covering the African campaign, the invasions of Sicily, southern Italy, southern France, and Germany. After the war, Atkins joined the staff of the Saturday Evening Post. As the Washington correspondent for the Post, he photographed many important leaders of the United States and the world. Among them were Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, Gamel Nasser, Nikita Kruschev, Josip B. Tito, and Jawaharlal Nehru. He was the Post's Far East correspondent in 1951, and also enjoyed a personal and working relationship with the magazine's famous illustrator, Norman Rockwell.

In 1969, Atkins became the personal photographer of President Richard M. Nixon and chief White House photographer. Of his many images of Nixon, the series documenting the meeting of December 18, 1970 with Elvis Presley is the most famous and the most requested. After Nixon's resignation in 1974, Atkins became vice president of Curtis Publishing Company of Indianapolis and remained there until his death in 1977. Ollie Atkins's awards include the White House News Photographers' Association Grand Award, the Graflex All American Photo Contest Portrait Award, and the National Press Photographers' Association Personalities Award. Books by Ollie Atkins include Camera on Assignment (co-written with Charles Baptie, 1957), and The White House Years: Triumph and Tragedy (1977). He also contributed to William Safire's Eye on Nixon (1972).

The Atkins collection consists of approximately 60,000 images that extensively document American political and cultural history from the 1940s through the 1970s. Most of the images that document American political life date from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s when Atkins worked as a photographer for the Saturday Evening Post and then later as the personal photographer to President Richard M. Nixon. The bulk of the American cultural documentation is from Atkins' work in the 1950s and early 1960s on specific stories for the Saturday Evening Post, and these stories cover other areas of the United States, particularly the Southeast up through the Northeast coast. There are also a number of international sets of images from Korea, Africa, and India. The collection consists largely of 8x10" and l3x10" color and black and white prints and 35mm and 4x5" black and white negatives. There are also a number of slides, contact sheets, and oversize matted prints. The collection also includes some correspondence and other documentation on Atkins' work and travel abroad.


Atkins, Oliver F.


George Mason University Libraries





Collection Items

First Lady, Patricia Nixon and President Richard M. Nixon vote in the 1972 Election
First Lady, Patricia Nixon and President Nixon vote in the 1972 Election in San Clemente, CA, November 7, 1972

U.S. Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink
Photograph of U.S. Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaii in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress.
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