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Robert C. May collection, 1900-1993

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Author

Processed by Archives staff; rearranged by Matthew Jones from June-August 2007 under ; machine-readable finding aid created by Janice Childers

Title

Robert C. May collection

Date

1900-1993

Repository

University of Kentucky Libraries, Special Collections

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by subject in 11 series:

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

1997ua001: [identification of item], Robert C. May collection, University of Kentucky Archives.

Extent

10 cubic feet (61 boxes; 2 films)

Abstract

The Robert C. May collection contains work prints, contact sheets, slides, works of various other artists, photographs and negatives of a wide variety of subjects. In addition, it also includes photo albums, films, correspondence, research, catalogs and clippings, mostly concerning Robert May's photographs, the University of Kentucky and the Lexington Camera Club.

Biography/History

Robert C. May was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Kentucky in 1956. May was a photographer for the University of Kentucky Agriculture Information Department from 1956-1967. After 20 years in various audio-visual, photographic, and publication management positions with IBM, he retired from the company in 1987. From1986, he was an adjunct faculty member of the University of Kentucky Art Department, teaching courses in photography and photographic history. May was also a member of the Lexington Camera Club from 1952-1972. His photographs have been extensively exhibited locally, regionally and nationally beginning around 1953. Important solo exhibitions of his work were held at Afterimage Gallery in Dallas and Focus Gallery in San Francisco during the 1970s. His work was included in the exhibition, "I shall save one land unvisited, 11 Southern Photographers," which traveled to more than a dozen major museums and galleries throughout the country from 1978-1981. Mr. May's photographs appear in numerous publications and exhibition catalogs. Most notably, his work was featured in the "Discoveries" chapter of the Time-Life series, Photography Year/1976 Edition. In 1989, his book on the history of the Lexington Camera Club, entitled: The Lexington Camera Club: 1936-1972, was published by the University of Kentucky Library Associates. Robert C. May died on March 9, 1993.

Scope and Content

The Robert C. May collection contains work prints, contact sheets, slides, works of various other artists, photographs and negatives of agriculture, miscellaneous negatives, family photographs, photographs of Ireland and plants, photographs of China, 1991 University of Kentucky Art Department Photography II portfolio, miscellaneous photographs, two family photograph albums, two films and printed materials which includes; the original receipt of the collection with list of contents, family history material, miscellaneous correspondence and newspaper clippings, Lexington Camera Club Exhibit correspondence, research materials for Camera Club Exhibit, manuscript of Camera Club speech by Robert May 1989, drafts and final booklet for Camera Club Exhibit, booklets with photographs by Robert May, photography catalogues (most featuring the work of Robert May), the 1953 Auratum - Henry Clay High School Yearbook, and the negatives used in final portfolio, 1991.

Subjects

  • Carpenter, Dennis.
  • May, Robert C., 1935-1993.
  • Meatyard, Melissa.
  • Meatyard, Ralph Eugene, 1925-1972.
  • Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968.
  • University of Kentucky.
  • International Business Machines A/S.
  • Lexington (Ky.)
  • Ireland
  • China
  • Agricultural Experiment Station -- Kentucky.
  • Artists -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
  • Manners and Customs -- Kentucky.
  • Buildings -- Kentucky.
  • Cemeteries -- Kentucky.
  • Churches -- Kentucky.
  • Photographers -- Kentucky.
  • Photographs

Collection Inventory

Work Prints, 1950-1993
Scope and Content Note:

The Work Prints series consists of 8" x 10" images of animals, buildings, barns, churches, interiors, trees/buildings, exteriors, cemeteries, miscellaneous, people, women, children, men, nature, fences roads, rocks, trees, superimposed trees, plants, water, winter, flowers as well as published images from the book The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum. The images in Series I are artistic work prints with the majority in black and white. Prints in Box 11 (848-850) and Box 15 (1197-1198) are in color. There are a total of 1,867 8" x 10" work prints that include five color work prints.

Animals
[box: 1, item: 1-10]
Untitled 1967, The Robert C. May Photograph Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 49
[box: 1, item: 11-13]
Animals
[box: 1, item: 14-48]
Buildings - Barns
[box: 2, item: 49-120]
Untitled 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 70
[box: 2, item: 121]
Buildings - Barns
[box: 2, item: 122-126]
Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building
[box: 3, item: 127-145]
Untitled 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 87
[box: 3, item: 146-147]
Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building
[box: 3, item: 148-172]
Untitled 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 52
[box: 3, item: 173]
Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building
[box: 3, item: 174-181]
Untitled 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 59
[box: 3, item: 182]
Buildings-Churches, Interiors, Tree/Building
[box: 3, item: 183-198]
Buildings - Exteriors
[box: 4, item: 199-211]
Untitled, ca. 1964, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 43
[box: 4, item: 212]
Buildings - Exteriors
[box: 4, item: 213-273]
Farm House, near Sadieville, Scott County, KY, 1973 The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 68
[box: 4, item: 274-281]
Buildings - Exteriors
[box: 4, item: 282-305]
Cemeteries
[box: 5, item: 306-314]
Untitled, ca. 1964, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 86
[box: 5, item: 315]
Cemeteries
[box: 5, item: 316-369]
Miscellaneous
[box: 6, item: 370-395]
Untitled, ca. 1972, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 64
[box: 6, item: 396]
Miscellaneous
[box: 6, item: 397-441]
People-Women, Children
[box: 7, item: 442-517]
Melissa Meatyard Dressed as Old Lady, 1969, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 57
[box: 7, item: 518]
People-Women, Children
[box: 7, item: 519-524]
People - Men
[box: 8a, item: 525-549]
Untitled 1973, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 67
[box: 8a, item: 550]
People - Men
[box: 8a, item: 551-565]
Ralph Eugene Meatyard, 1972, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 66
[box: 8a, item: 566-569]
People - Men
[box: 8b, item: 570-644]
People - Thomas Merton
[box: 9, item: 645-693]
Bob May Photograph by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (American 1925-1972) The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 5
[box: 9, item: 694]
People - Thomas Merton
[box: 9, item: 695-696]
Nature-Fences, Roads, Rocks
[box: 10, item: 697-748]
Along Higbee Mill Road, Fayette County, KY 1974, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 69
[box: 10, item: 749]
Nature-Fences, Roads, Rocks
[box: 10, item: 750-789]
Nature-Trees
[box: 11, item: 790-885]
Nature-Trees
[box: 12, item: 886-917]
Untitled, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 85
[box: 12, item: 918-920]
Nature-Trees
[box: 12, item: 921-983]
Nature-Superimposed Trees
[box: 13a, item: 984-1074]
Nature-Superimposed Trees
[box: 13b, item: 1075-1100 ]
Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"
[box: 14, item: 1101-1122 ]
Haystacks, Shakertown, Pleasant Hill, KY, 1974, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 71
[box: 14, item: 1123-1129]
Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"
[box: 14, item: 1130-1145 ]
Outside/Inside, 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 62
[box: 14, item: 1146-1149 ]
Nature-Plants, "Swirl Forest"
[box: 14, item: 1150-1190]
Water
[box: 15, item: 1191-1261 ]
# 68 from Tree Series, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 79
[box: 15, item: 1262]
Water
[box: 15, item: 1263-1269]
Winter
[box: 16, item: 1270-1358]
Animals, Buildings, Water, Winter
[box: 18, item: 1444-1472]
# 68 from Tree Series, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 79
[box: 18, item: 1473]
Animals, Buildings, Water, Winter
[box: 18, item: 1474-1488]
Miscellaneous
[box: 19, item: 1489-1499 ]
My Father, World War I, 1978 Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 91
[box: 19, item: 1500-1502]
Miscellaneous
[box: 19, item: 1503-1540]
Miscellaneous
[box: 20a, item: 1541-1613]
Midnight Moment, 1952 Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 27
[box: 20a, item: 1611-1612]
Miscellaneous
[box: 20b, item: 1614-1671]
Untitled, 1983, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 94
[box: 20b, item: 1672-1673]
Miscellaneous
[box: 20b, item: 1674-1678]
Nature-Flowers
[box: 21a, item: 1679-1735]
Nature-Flowers
[box: 21b, item: 1736-1783]
Outside\Inside, 1970, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 62
[box: 21b, item: 1784]
# 176 from Flower and Tree Series, 1977, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 77
[box: 21b, item: 1785-1787]
Nature-Flowers
[box: 21b, item: 1788-1789]
Nature
[box: 22a, item: 1790-1827]
Untitled, 1975, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 85
[box: 22b, item: 1828-1829]
Nature
[box: 22b, item: 1830-1895]
People
[box: 23, item: 1896-1900]
"Untitled, 1988, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 93"
[box: 23, item: 1901-1903]
People
[box: 23, item: 1904-1922]
Untitled, 1968, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 61
[box: 23, item: 1923]
People
[item: 1924-1953]
Contact Sheets
Scope and Content Note:

The Contact Sheets series include positive prints of negative strips. A contact sheet is created by placing negatives on photographic paper. They are then exposed and the print is processed allowing the photographer to view multiple images on a single piece of photographic paper. Most of the contact sheets are 8" x 10" in size and black and white. The images include sunflowers, trees, people, flowers, plants, vehicles, animals, buildings, roads, cemeteries, trains, cows, horses, fences, dolls, Robert C. May, Dennis "Bones" Carpenter, churches, children, dogs, and cats. There are a total of 84 contact sheets.

Contact Sheets (84)
[box: 17, item: 1359-1443]
Slides, 1950-1993
Scope and Content Note:

The Slides series includes approximately 1,350 35mm color slides with content of Robert C. May, his family, vacations, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, the Lexington Camera Club, and medical slides.

Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 24]
Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 25]
Family, Vacation (Approximately 150)
[box: 26]
Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 27]
Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 28]
Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 29]
Family Photos, Meatyard (Approximately 150)
[box: 30]
Camera Club, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 31]
Family, Vacation, Medical, May (Approximately 150)
[box: 32]
Works of Various Artists, 1990-1991
Scope and Content Note:

The Works of Various Artists series includes work possibly by Robert C. May and other artists including: Melissa Meatyard, Gerry Dartt, Mating, Cull, Marshall Smith, Walz, Pierson Studio, Cranston C. Ritchie, Mary T. Duffy, Hank Chapman, Culest Bynum, Joe Martin, Diane Blazy, Donna Ruskin, Bob Compton, Liz Osbourne, Jennifer Allen, Kristen Bernhard, Joseph David, Sarah Jones, Stephanie Lind, Virginia Martin, Jessica Samuel, John Scowby, Lara Shostle, Diana Stevie, Joel Wilhelmi. There are approximately 97 items including photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculpture.

Works of Various Artists
[box: 33, item: 1-16]
"Pasturage Carousel, 1990, The Robert C. May Photography Collection University of Kentucky Art Museum page 95"
[box: 33, item: 17]
Works of Various Artists
[box: 33, item: 18-40]
Works of Various Artists
[box: 34, item: 108-154]
Photography Portfolio 1991 University of Kentucky Art Department Photography II
[box: 44, item: 1-12]
Agricultural Materials, 1956-1967
Scope and Content Note:

The Agricultural Materials series consists of negatives that were originally in an envelope labeled University of Kentucky Department of Public Information Agricultural Experiment Station Lexington, Kentucky. This series contains mostly 6" x 6" black and white negatives, one color transparency, 35 mm black and white negatives, and contact sheets. Four 6" x 6" black and white negatives are identified as Johnson Grass Control Plots. Examples of content include unidentified people, crops and animals.

Agricultural
[box: 34, item: 1-27]
Agricultural
[box: 34, item: 79-88]
Unidentified Negatives
Scope and Content Note:

The Unidentified Negatives series contains twenty-one 4" x 5" black and white negatives, one 6" x 9" black and white negative, one 35mm color slide, and 102 6" x 6" black and white negatives. The negatives are of unidentified people and places.

Unidentified Negatives
[box: 34a, item: 1-99]
Unidentified Negatives
[box: 34b, item: 100-153 ]
Unidentified Negatives
[box: 34c, item: 154]
Unidentified Negatives
[box: 34d, item: 155-181]
Family Photographs, 1900-1991
Scope and Content Note:

The Family Photographs series contains images of the family of Robert C. May from 1900-1991. The majority of the family photographs are casual snapshots but it does include one daguerreotype of Will McCormick (as identified by a post-it note that was on the wrapping). The identified locations include the states of Kentucky and Florida. Many of the images have writing on the back that is difficult to read. The identified photographs include: Bobbie Carl South Limestone; Carl, Robert Earl May Nine Months Old; E.B. May; Granny, Mother, Aunt Stella, Uncle Johnny, Willie, Aunt Fannie, and Deborah taken at Granny Gaines home in Alton, Kentucky; Owen May, John Francis Cannon; Charity, a pet lamb, and a Collie; Deborah Leach; Cecil "1910"; Uncle Omer 1947; Mother on South Lime 1949; Deborah December 2, 1951; Aunt Stella in Florida; (Boo) now Buddy October 1951; Mother Deborah; Mother and Byron Wilson August 1948; Billy and his five Grandmothers October 1, 1949; Deborah Leach baby picture; Easter Mother and me Georgetown, Kentucky; Mother Cumberland Trail 1937; Deborah; Bess and Deborah; Aunt Fannie Leach; Gaines Home in Fayette County Betty Gaines, Billy, Mary Louise, born in this home; Granny Gaines, Aunt Stella, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Willie, Aunt Fannie, Mother and Deborah; Bill Leach; Bobby Jones 2nd Class Scout Troop 1953; In my living room on Mothers Day 1972 Pattie and Luther; 1977 Bill and Martha May; Mrs. Flowers Home Christmas Me, Serving Punch; Deborah Group of Friends at Mrs. Flowers; 1967 Florida Princess Martha; Me Florida Princess Martha; 1967 Florida St. Petersburg Princess Martha; Taken at School October 1971 Betty Gaines; Deborah Leach 18 years old.

1900-1960
[box: 36a, item: 1-415]
1900-1960
[box: 36b, item: 416-716 ]
1900-1960
[box: 36c, item: 717-773]
1940-1991
[box: 37a, item: 1-395]
1940-1991
[box: 37b, item: 396-455]
1900-1920
[box: 41a, item: 1-23]
1900-1920
[box: 41b, item: 24-47]
1900-1920
[box: 41c, item: 48-73]
1900-1920
[box: 41d, item: 74]
Family Photographs
[box: 42a, item: 1-32]
Family Photographs
[box: 42b, item: 33-130]
Family Photographs
[box: 42c, item: 131-186 ]
Miscellaneous and Family Photographs 1900-1980
[box: 43, item: 1-62]
Family Photograph Albums
[box: 47, item: 1-2]
Travel Photographs, 1991-1992
Scope and Content Note:

The Travel Photographs series consist of color photographs and negatives taken during May's travel to Ireland, Japan, and China. The photographs of Ireland are in color and include 53 Polaroid's. The photographs of China and Japan include 20 drug store processed envelopes of color photographs.

Ireland and Plants (Approximately 501)
[box: 38]
China and Japan (Approximately 600)
[box: 39]
Printed Materials, 1950-1991
Scope and Content Note:

The Printed Materials series dates from 1950-1991 and include: the original receipt of collection with lists of contents, family history material, miscellaneous correspondence and newspaper clippings, correspondence of the Lexington Camera Club, research materials for the Camera Club Exhibit, manuscript for Camera Club Exhibit, booklets with photographs by Robert May, photography catalogues featuring the work of Robert May, the 1953 Auratum Henry Clay High School Yearbook, and negatives used in final portfolio.

Original Receipt of Collection With Lists of Contents
[box: 35, folder: 1]
Family History Material
[box: 35, folder: 2]
Miscellaneous Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings
[box: 35, folder: 3]
Correspondence Lexington Camera Club
[box: 35, folder: 4]
Research Materials for Camera Club Exhibit
[box: 35, folder: 5]
Manuscript for Camera Club Speech by Bob May 1989
[box: 35, folder: 6]
Drafts and Final Booklet for Camera Club Exhibit
[box: 35, folder: 7]
Booklets with Photographs by Robert May
[box: 40, folder: 1]
Photography Catalogues (most featuring the work of Robert May)
[box: 40, folder: 2]
The 1953 Auratum, Henry Clay High School Yearbook, Robert May's Senior Year
[box: 40, folder: 3]
Negatives used in Final Portfolio
[box: 40, folder: 4]
Miscellaneous Items, 1953-1993
Scope and Content Note:

The Miscellaneous Items date from 1953-1993 and include one photograph of Robert C. May, Robert May's Henry Clay High School Diploma, one painting, one print, one drawing, one metal sculpture and four photographs.

Oversize Miscellaneous Items
[box: 45, item: 1-5]
Miscellaneous Items
[box: 46, item: 1-5]
Films
Scope and Content Note:

The Films series contains two 16mm films. Film 1 was produced by Kentucky Educational Television and is labeled "Ralph Eugene Meatyard." Film two is unidentified but contains several color films spliced together and appears to be casual scenes and exteriors of buildings.

KET film on Ralph Eugene Meatyard
[item: 1]
Unidentified
[item: 2]

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