John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier is open for research

The John Maloof Collection of Vivian Maier at the University of Chicago Library's Special Collections Research Center is now open for research in our reading room.

Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was an American photographer best known for her street photographs of Chicago and New York. Maier was employed as a caregiver for most of her life, and it was only after her death that her photographs began to attract significant public interest and recognition.

The collection includes filmmaker and collector John Maloof's recent donation of 2700 vintage prints as well as his 2017 gift of around 500 vintage prints, which were previously available at the Special Collections Research Center. The new material is particularly significant because it includes a large number of black and white photographs developed by Maier herself, in addition to some commercially developed color images.

Along with numerous images of the Chicago area, the collection contains a significant number of travel photographs, including images of France, Canada, Egypt, Thailand, Cambodia, and unidentified locations in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Also included are some images of public figures, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. The majority of the photographs date from the 1950s-1970s.

In addition to Vivian Maier's photographs, the collection contains 10 cameras, photographic equipment, personal items such as a trunk and suitcase, scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, photographs collected by Maier, and a small amount of notes, ephemera, and correspondence.

It is recommended that visitors request the materials they are interested in seeing prior to their arrival. Requests should be made through the Guide to the Collection. Instructions on how to create a Special Collections account and instructions on how to request boxes from the Collection can be found online. If visitors are unable to request the materials ahead of time, Special Collections staff will be happy to assist upon arrival.

Person looking from behind stop sign
Photo by Vivian Maier. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.