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Photo Negatives - IAC, 1944 - 1993


Scope and Contents

Photography has always been important to the National Music Camp, and photos exist from the earliest years of the Camp. Beginning in circa 1944, a concerted effort was made each year to fully document camp life. A professional photographer was on site throughout the season, taking high quality, usually staged, photographs. These consisted of group shots of each of the camper cabins, and numerous individual shots of campers and instructors. These photos were developed on-site in the campus darkroom.

The campers at NMC were divided into age groups called Junior, Intermediate and High School. There was also a University contingent from the University of Michigan for many years. The sequence of negatives reflects these divisions. Two other typical divisions are General camp photos and Post-camp photos. General photos are often simply of the High Schoolers who constituted the majority of the campers at NMC, but also include more generic and candid shots of camp life. Post-camp indicates that camp had concluded, and these photos document the routines associated with closing down the camp for the summer.

When the Arts Academy began in the 1962-63 school year, the tradition of photography was continued, and similar high-quality shots were taken of the students. Theses are generally all numbered sequentially, and not divided into the four classes of Freshman, Sophomore, etc. It was around this time that the 4 x 5 large format was supplemented, and then supplanted, by the 120 film medium format, approximately 2.25" x 2.25".


  • 1944 - 1993



The photo negative collection consists of thousands of images of camp life at the National Music Camp. These photos were originally professionally shot and developed on campus from large-format (4" x 5") black and white negatives. A consistent log of their contents can be found in the Photo Negative Notebooks.


100 Linear Feet (105 drawers of large-format 4" x 5" and medium-format 2.25" x 2.25" black and white photo negatives)

Language of Materials



The photo negatives are arranged chronologically by year.

Within each year of the IAC, (Camp), the negatives are numbered consecutively, either in one continuous group, or separated into the various camper age group divisions - Junior, Intermediate, High School and University - each with their own sequential numbering system. There are also General Camp and Post-camp groupings of photos.

Within each year of the IAA, (Academy), there is one continuous numbering sequence.

This numbering scheme originates in the Photo Negative Notebooks, and is maintained here for consistency. The unique number of each negative, and its associated files, matches the number it was originally given by the photographer. This number has been increased to four digits in all cases, (with the use of additional zeroes), to provide for ease of organization and item inventory.

Film stock

Virtually all film stock in this Series is Kodak Safety Film with an Acetate base. No nitrate films are known to be included in the main collection of official camp photography.


Repository Details

Part of the Archives of Interlochen Center for the Arts Repository

Bonisteel Library
4000 Highway M-137
Interlochen MI 49643 USA