Descriptive inventory for the Declan Haun papers, 1959-1994

Declan Haun papers

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Descriptive inventory for the Declan Haun papers, 1959-1994

Prepared by Francine Keyes and Leigh Moran, July 2004.
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Instructions for accessing this collection

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Declan Haun papers, 1959-1994 (inclusive)
Creator: Declan Haun
Dates: 1959-1994 (inclusive)
Accession number: 2002.0098
Bib number: 00143876
Call number: MSS Lot H
Size: 13 linear feet (29 boxes)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Materials were a gift of the estate of Declan Haun (accession #: 2002.0098).

Terms governing use:

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.


Research use of this collection is governed by the standard rules and regulations of the Chicago History Museum Research Center.

Please cite this collection as:

Declan Haun papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Separated material:

Includes the Declan Haun collection of visual materials (2002.0098.2).

Collection Summary +/-

Professional, family, and personal correspondence of photojournalist Declan Haun as well as notes and reflections, mid-1960s; small notebooks (58 v.) about assignments, lists, etc., 1960-1990; date book calendars, 1967-1983; examples of Haun's published photo essays; items on educational activities in which he participated; manuscript by Richard Bradford about Gary, Indiana, that was to be illustrated with Haun's photographs if published; clippings and notes compiled by Haun as reference file; files relating to Haun's work for National Geographic magazine ca. 1977-1980s and his contributions to the Odyssey exhibition celebrating the magazine's 100th anniversary; plans for a photography magazine of his own; and other papers. Haun worked for the Charlotte Observer, 1958-1963; and as a freelancer for the Black Star agency, 1963-1994, while he resided in Chicago. There is relatively little material dating from 1967 to 1977.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Photojournalist Declan Haun was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 17, 1937. Although introduced to photography at a young age by his father Charles Haun, a Detroit Free Press photo-editor, Haun explored diverse academic fields, such as architecture (studying architecture and working briefly in an architectural firm) and Spanish, before turning to a career in photography. In 1958, Haun married Delores Jarvis, known as Dee. He worked for the Charlotte Observer, Black Star, and as a freelance photojournalist. He died in 1994 at age 56.

After working as an apprentice for Detroit freelance photographer Joe Clark, known as "the Hill Billy Snap Shooter," in 1957 to 1958, Haun joined the staff of the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1958. The Observer was one of only a handful of newspapers nationally that were using smaller format cameras in natural light rather than the medium-format Speed Graphic cameras traditionally used in newspaper photojournalism. This shift in technology resulted in a new aesthetic sensibility at the Observer, and Haun and his colleagues soon gained a national reputation for their artful and unorthodox coverage of the news.

In early 1963, Haun left the Observer after being hired by Black Star, an international picture agency representing freelancers. Being associated with the agency helped Haun get assignments covering news events with major magazines, such as Life, Newsweek, and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as assignments with advertising agencies for large corporate projects, such as annual reports and articles in trade journals for companies like International Harvester, Xerox, and American Airlines.

In late 1963, Black Star moved Haun to Chicago, where he lived and worked as a freelance photojournalist for the next 14 years. During his first decade with Black Star, Haun was given editorial assignments covering presidential campaigns and elections, such as the 1964 presidential campaigns of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and Alabama Governor George Wallace, as well as the political conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties in 1964 and 1968. In 1965, Haun covered the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.

Throughout the 1960s, Haun also covered numerous events in the struggle for civil rights for African Americans, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); the aftermath of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963; the gathering of supporters in Selma, Alabama, before the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965 (though Haun was unable to attend the actual march); and the funeral of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. Additionally, his 1961 photograph of a young civil rights worker demonstrating in Monroe, North Carolina, entitled "Justice" (made during his employment at the Charlotte Observer), appeared throughout the decade in numerous exhibitions and publications urging support for the civil rights movement. Living in Chicago, Haun was well positioned to document the struggles for civil rights in the Midwest, including school boycotts (1963), the West Side, Chicago race riots (1965), open housing marches in the Ashburn neighborhood of Chicago (1966), the CORE march in Cicero, Illinois (1966), the Blackstone Rangers street gang (1967), and the mayoral campaign and election of African American lawyer Richard Hatcher in Gary, Indiana (1967).

Haun's extensive coverage of the mayoral campaign of African-American attorney Richard Hatcher in Gary, Indiana in 1967 led to his collaboration with writer Robert Bradford. Bradford and Haun aimed to describe the conditions of poverty, racial inequity, and political corruption that inspired the candidate's run for office in their unpublished book entitled: The Crossroads. During this time he also did a considerable amount of work for advertising agencies and corporate clients.

From 1967-1969, Haun worked under exclusive contract for Life magazine, which restricted him from working for any of the magazine's national competitors, including Look and the Saturday Evening Post. The rights to any negatives Haun made while on assignment for Life during this period are owned by the magazine, and images are retained in its archive. Haun continued to be represented by Black Star during this period, but, given the restrictions of his Life contract the majority of his work for the agency was industrial and commercial assignments.

From 1969-1976, Haun continued to work as a freelance photographer in Chicago while also exploring other career opportunities, such as film making and film production for Washington, D.C. based Guggenheim Productions. In 1971, Haun produced a short film entitled Real Self for Guggenheim which included a number of his own photographs, as well as those of photographers Jack Jaffe, Michael Mauney, and John White.

Though he remained associated with Black Star until his death in 1994 his most active period with the agency ended in 1976, when he moved from Chicago to Washington D.C. to work as an illustrations editor for the National Geographic magazine. Haun worked for National Geographic until 1982. From 1982-1984 Haun worked in a similar position for Smithsonian Magazine. He also taught an introductory photojournalism course at George Washington University between 1977 and 1988.

Haun conceived of and was co-curator of the Corcoran Gallery exhibition "Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic," which highlighted the 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society in 1988. The exhibition was very successful and went on a worldwide tour of 27 venues between 1988 and 1991. Haun also worked as project editor for illustrations for the National Geographic 100 Year Index, a book published in 1989 that contained 1243 pictures, including many from the Odyssey exhibit.

During the years 1989 to 1993, Haun conceived of a small business that met with varying degrees of success. Known as "The Q Street Group" and later as "Odyssey Communications," this business was a consortium for the creation and production of editorial material for magazines, books, and other quality publications. Haun also collaborated with colleagues to create a proposed magazine called Odyssey, that was to be an "international literary and photographic travel magazine" with each issue devoted to a single theme. Haun died March 7, 1994, in Washington, D.C., at age 56, from throat cancer.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

African Americans--United States--20th century
Civil Rights Movements--United States--20th century
Periodicals--Publishing--United States--20th century
Photographers--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Photographers--United States--20th century
Photojournalists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Photojournalists--United States--20th century
Travel--United States--20th century--Exhibitions
Bradford, Richard
Hatcher, Richard G.
Haun, Declan--Archives
Black Star (Picture agency)
Charlotte Observer
National Geographic Society (U.S.)
Saturday Evening Post
Journals (notebooks)
Gary (Ind.)--Politics and government--20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged into seven series, the first of which is arranged into four subseries.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1959-1994 (boxes 1-11)
Subseries 1. Correspondence with individuals (boxes 1-3)
Subseries 2. Correspondence with clients, groups and associations (boxes 4-5)
Subseries 3. Correspondence with family members, 1963-1994 (box 6)
Subseries 4. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1977-1993 (boxes 6-11)
Series 2. Personal, 1960-1990 (boxes 12-14)
Series 3. Assignments, stories and publications, 1958-1990 (boxes 15-17, & 29)
Series 4. Educational activities, 1960-1989. (boxes 18-19)
Series 5. Clippings, reference, brochures, projects, 1957-1993 (boxes 20-21)
Series 6. National Geographic Society (boxes 22-25)
Series 7. Business ventures, 1989-1993 (boxes 26-28)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Cheyenne Flotree using Oxygen editor, 2015.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to Explore Chicago Collections portal.
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