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The Work of Charles and Ray Eames


Collection digitized? No. Some selected images can be viewed in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog and in the online exhibit, "The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention." See Access section below.

Introduction | Searching | Access | Ordering Reproductions | Permissions and Credits | Related Resources | Bibliography

Introduction

Sketch of plywood chairs
Ray Eames, Sketch for plywood chairs, ca. 1945.
LC-DIG-ppmsca-05732

The body of material known as The Work of Charles and Ray Eames documents, through more than one million items in a variety of media, the major impact that Charles and Ray Eames had on American design, particularly in the realms of graphic, textile, furniture, architectural, and exhibit design. The material dates primarily from about 1940 to 1978. The Prints and Photographs Division holds the largest portion of the material--more than 750,000 items. The Library's Manuscript Division holds related textual material, and the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division holds the Eameses' film materials.

Exhibition areas in an aquarium building ... Washington, D.C. Perspective rendering of central pool.
Exhibition areas in an aquarium building ... Washington, D.C. Perspective rendering of central pool. Between 1966 and 1971.
LC-USZ62-114111

The Prints and Photographs Division's portion of the collection is both an archive of design ideas and a record of the Eames' work. Charles and Ray Eames photographed their own designs extensively, and also used photography to study natural forms and everyday objects. The collection documents exhibitions, publications, and films for organizations such as IBM, Herman Miller, the U.S. government, Boeing, and Polaroid. It also reflects the Eameses' interest in making scientific and mathematical concepts and history more accessible to a general audience. The photographs include many images depicting the Eameses, their family, friends, and colleagues, including Billy Wilder and Eero Saarinen.

Searching

Catalog records for Prints and Photographs Division materials include the phrase, "Work of Charles and Ray Eames." The most efficient means for searching all of the cataloged material is to:

  • go to the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
  • search using the search blank at the top, which searches all catalog records
  • include the words, work charles ray eames, in the search.

As very little of the collection is digitized, researchers should expect to make a visit to the Prints & Photographs Reading Room to view the material. (Selections may be viewed in the online exhibit, "The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention.")

Researchers new to this collection should first become familiar with the LOTs (discussed in the next section “Cataloged Material”) and exhaust these resources before moving into unprocessed groups of materials.

Researchers interested in slides should have a defined scope for their project and plan a length of visit appropriate to the amount of material to review. An online finding aid is available through the Library of Congress Finding Aids application: "Slides from the Eames Collection (Library of Congress)," (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/eadpnp.pp019002) .

Access

Cataloged Material

Groups of Materials

The cataloged portion of the Prints and Photographs Division holdings includes groups of material, called "LOTs" primarily arranged by project. These can be retrieved without prior arrangement by submitting a call slip in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room:
  • Contact sheets and contact prints (30,000), representing 220,000 film negatives (192,000 b&w; 28,000 color) – arranged in LOTs, mostly by project.
  • Working prints and graphics used for projects, such as Furniture – arranged in LOTs.

View catalog records for LOTs

The cataloged portion also includes the following groups of items that require advance notice for service:

Basic catalog records for LOTs and ADE Units can be retrieved through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Detailed finding aids for the LOTs and ADE Units are available in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room and provide more information about the contents of the groups.

Make advance requests for ADE units and 35 mm slides through Ask A Librarian - Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

Individual Items

Staff have also created catalog records and some digital images for a selection of individual items. These include drawings, prints, Christmas cards, and other items selected for use in exhibitions, as well as records made in response to requests for reproduction.

Unprocessed Material

The portion of the collection that has yet to be fully organized and prepared for service consists of:

  • Architectural and design drawings (approximately 9,000)
  • Graphics, reference prints, and other materials used in working through project ideas (estimated 150,000 items).

Materials that have not yet been cataloged may be requested by following the instructions in Prints & Photographs Division's Access to Unprocessed Materials information. Please note, as the Eames were avid documenters, there is not a lot in the unprocessed material that is not also, if not more fully, represented in the LOTs and slides.

Ordering Reproductions

Materials from the Work of Charles and Ray Eames have not been systematically digitized. Researchers purchase quality copies of items in the collection through the Library of Congress Duplication Services. Please follow the suggestions below for ensuring accurate reproduction orders that enable staff to retrieve items to be digitized as efficiently as possible.

Selections from Negatives represented in Contact Sheet LOTs

Materials prepared for viewing in the P&P Reading Room have been marked to indicate the reproduction number or numbers used for ordering photographic copies of entire contact sheets and individual printed images, as well as corresponding negatives if they are available.

Some researchers may wish to purchase digital copies of contact sheets (multiple negatives reproduced on a page) using the LOT number and item number recorded on the back of the items.

More often, researchers want digital copies of individual photos shown on the contact sheet, in which case the specific identifier (the negative code recorded on the back of the item, and the negative frame designation, if they exist) are needed. Some contact sheets included in the Eames LOTs have no corresponding negatives or transparencies; in such cases the negative code (“LC-E...”) does not appear on the back of the contact sheet.

When placing orders for scans of negatives, patrons should supply the full reproduction number with negative codes AND reference photos of the front and back of the contact sheet highlighting the particular frame(s) being requested.
            Example: LC-E11-CEX-693-K

Verso of contact sheetRecto of contact sheet
Back of contact sheet showing negative code (LC-E11-CEX-693), and front of the contact sheet, with frame "K" indicated. The LOT and item numbers, which apply to an entire contact sheet, are not sufficient for ordering a scan of a negative.

The various LC-E... codes that are used to prefix reproduction numbers identify the film type (nitrate, safety, color negative, color transparency), and size (35mm, 120mm, 4x5, 8x10). The E negative codes are crucial in getting a scan from the correct negative. (Note: The turnaround time for obtaining digital copies of nitrate negatives is generally longer than for safety film negatives because the materials are stored at a more distant cold storage location. There is no research service at this storage location.)  The look of the contact print does not easily indicate whether film is safety or nitrate, so you must depend on the negative code stamped on the back of a reference contact print or sheet to determine the film format.


Generally, if it begins with...It is probably a...
LC-E1035mm/120mm safety film negative
LC-E11 35mm/120mm safety film negative
LC-E12 4x5 in. safety film negative
LC-E13 5x7 in. or 8x10 in. safety film negative
LC-E13-T018x10 duplicate film negative
LC-E14 35mm color slide
LC-E150 4x5 in. or 8x10 in. color film negative or transparency
LC-E160 35mm, 4x5 in. 5x7 in. or 8x10 in. color safety film negative
LC-E17 4x5 safety film negative
LC-E20 3x10 in. nitrate film negative
LC-E21 3x10 in or 4x5 in. nitrate film negative
LC-E22 4x5 nitrate film negative
LC-E334x5 glass copy negative

Selections from ADE Units, Prints from LOTs, and Unprocessed Materials

ADE Unit drawings and individual items from LOTs or unprocessed groups should have a unique reproduction number written on the back of the item.

Example: ADE - UNIT 2833, no. 1
Example: LOT 13383, no. 1
Example: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2004:034, no. 3 or LC-DIG-ppmsca-39680

Selections from Eames E14 Series (35mm slides)

When placing 35 mm slide scan orders, patrons should supply the full reproduction number. Slides have the number stamped/written on the individual slide mount.

Example: LC-E14-AAR009.023

Permissions and Credits

The heirs of Charles and Ray Eames hold the intellectual property rights to much of the material in the Eames collection. The deed of gift for the collection states that "the materials constituting this and subsequent gifts shall be available for public access for purposes of study, scholarship, and non-commercial use. Persons granted access shall have the right to procure single-copy reproductions for non-commercial scholarship purposes." Permission to publish materials from the collection must be obtained from the Eames Office.

See the Rights and Restrictions statement for full information. It is available online at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/069_eame.html

Related Resources

In the Library of Congress

Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Telephone: 202-707-5387
URL: http://www.loc.gov/rr/mss/

Charles Eames and Ray Eames Papers, 1850-1989 (bulk 1950 -1988). A finding aid is available online.

Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division
Telephone: 202-707-8572
URL: http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/

Outside the Library of Congress

Disclaimer The Library of Congress does not maintain these sites. Users should direct concerns about these links to their respective site administrators or webmasters.

The Eames Office
P.O. Box 268, Venice, CA 90294-0268
http://www.eamesoffice.com

Includes information about the Eames Foundation and the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades in greater Los Angeles; also the Eames Office Gallery & Store; and Eames Office Resources.
Herman Miller Inc.
855 E. Main Street
Zeeland, Michigan 49464
http://www.hermanmiller.com
Archive of photographs of the Eameses and their products, oral histories of the company, patents, correspondence, drawings, publications, and audio-visual materials.
Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village Research Center
20900 Oakwood Boulevard, P.O. Box 1970
Dearborn Michigan 48121-1970
https://www.thehenryford.org/collections-and-research/
Herman Miller, Inc., collection of Eames furniture; some on loan to museums.

Vitra Design Museum
Charles Eames Strasse 1,
D-79576 Weil-am-Rhein, GERMANY
http://www.design-museum.com

Collection includes furniture production prototypes and related materials from the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. Charles Eames' office is recreated in the Vitra Schaudepot (showroom).

Bibliography: Major Works and Catalogs (in English)

Albrecht, Donald, et al. The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention. New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with the Library of Congress and the Vitra Design Museum, 1997. Call number: NK1535.E25 W67 1997 [P&P]

Caplan, Ralph, John Neuhart, and Marilyn Neuhart. Connections, the Work of Charles and Ray Eames, Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, December 7, 1976 - February 6, 1977. [Los Angeles, California]: UCLA Art Council, [1976]. Call number NK 1535. E25 E2 [P&P]

Ince, Catherine and Lotte Johnson, eds. The World of Charles and Ray Eames. London: Thames & Hudson with the Barbican Art Gallery, 2015. Call number: NK1412 .E18 W67 2015 [P&P]

Kirkham, Pat. Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1995. Call number NK1412.E18 K57 1995.

Neuhart, John, Marilyn Neuhart and Ray Eames. Eames Design: The Work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989. Call number: NK1535.E25 N48 1989. [P&P copy is partially annotated with reproduction numbers].

Neuhart, Marilyn and John Neuhart. The Story of Eames Furniture. Berlin: Gestalten, 2010. Call number: NK2408 .N48 2010. [P&P]

Remmele, Mathias. The Furniture of Charles and Ray Eames. Weil am Rhein: Vitra, 2007. NK2439 .E2 A4 2007

Spaeth, David. Charles Eames Bibliography. Monticello, Illinois: Vance Bibliographies, 1979. Call number Z8253.8 .S67 [xerox copy in P&P Ref. Files]


Prepared by: Marilyn Ibach, Reference Specialist and C. Ford Peatross, Curator of Architecture, Design and Engineering Collections. Revised and expanded by Ryan Brubacher, Reference Librarian. Last updated: Nov. 2018.
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  March 16, 2019
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