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James S. Roberts Photographs

Identifier: 75/31/29

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Content Description

The James S. Roberts Photographs incldues 2 boxes of materials and 510 megabytes as a born-digital file. The collection includes photograph prints, color slide transparencies, 35 millimeter black-and-white negatives, an autobiographical sketch written by Roberts describing his experiences at Northwestern and how he discovered his passion for photography, and a born-digital photobook in which Roberts curated a selection of his photographs.

The collection's photographs are largely undated but they were created from 1969-1972 as Roberts began photography during his second year as an undergraduate student at Northwestern University. The born-digital photobook was created in 2021.

Thematic subjects of Roberts' photography include antiwar movement, Mexico, Northwestern University people and campus activities, Evanston and Chicago scenes, and landscapes.

Box one contains approximately 170 prints of black and white photos taken by James Roberts. The prints are made from some of the 35 millimeter negatives contained in the binder. Box one also includes the biographical sketch by Roberts. Box two contains the binder which holds 6 sleeves of approximately 120 individual color slide transparencies and 170 sleeves holding 35 millimeter negatives (totally to almost 6,000 individual images). Some slides have captions labeled by Roberts. The born-digital file is a photobook titled "1969-1972 The Only Years" and contains a selection of the photgraphs created by Roberts.


  • Majority of material found within 1969 - 1972
  • 1969-1972, 2012, 2021


Conditions Governing Use

James S. Roberts retains the non-exclusive right to use, display, exhibit or publish images from the collection and to grant to others similar non-exclusive rights for one-time use. Roberts will inform Northwestern if and when such rights are granted. Northwestern will consult with Roberts before granting permission to display, exhibit or publish images from the collection. Roberts reserves the right, during his lifetime, to withhold such permission to protect his privacy or the privacy of photographic subjects.


2 Boxes (1 AB, 1 DF)

510 Megabytes

Language of Materials



Northwestern University alumnus James (Jim) S. Roberts studied history and took photographs during a tumultuous time on and off the campus from 1969 to 1972. His photos (prints, color slides, and black-and-white negatives) include depictions of anti-war events such as the November 15, 1969 Moratorium march on Washington, D.C. and the May, 1970 strike at Northwestern University, as well as scenes from Cuernavaca, Mexico, and general student activities at Northwestern.


The collection is arranged by media type in the following order: photographic prints, biographial sketch, binder containing color slide transparencies and 35 millimeter negatives, and a born-digital file.

Within each photographic type, the items are arranged by subject depicted in Roberts’ work. The color slide transparencies in the binder are arranged in order of historical subject. The month and year are printed on each slide and the slides are then arranged within each sleeve in chronological order. Some slides have captions labeled by Roberts. The 35 millimeter negatives are labeled and then arranged in order of historical subject, starting with the anti-war protests, through Mexico, and onto Northwestern life. Within Northwestern life are first pictures of professors and speakers, then fashion shoot photos for the magazine, and then general student and apartment life. After, there are Chicago scenes and Indiana landscape scenes.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Available born-digital materials in this collection are delivered to researchers in born-digital formats. Requests for different access methods, such as those not using computers or with the aid of assistive technologies, must be made in advance of a research appointment to Library staff.

Accessible born-digital material can be viewed online or within the McCormick Library Reading Room during research appointments. All necessary hardware and software will be provided during the appointment to access these materials to the best of our abilities.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The photographic prints, slides, and negatives were donated to the Northwestern University Archives by James Roberts in 2012 and 2013 (Accessions 12-161 and 13-5).

Guide to the James S. Roberts Photographs
Owen Hemming, 2014; Updated by Kelsey O'Connell, 2021
2014; 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US