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Ann Rosener Papers

Portrait of Ann Rosener in her press by Leo Holub, 1978; M1946, Flat-box 31, folder 1

The Manuscripts Division has recently completed processing the Ann Rosener papers (M1946). The collection contains correspondence, photographs, exhibition posters and catalogues, subject files, drafts, and business records, documenting Rosener’s fascinating career as a photographer, designer, and publisher.

Born in San Francisco in 1914, Rosener began her career as a photojournalist for the Office of War Information during World War II. She completed a series of striking photographs that recorded the significant contribution women made to the war effort at home, with a particular focus on images of women who began filling positions that had been traditionally held by men.

Women in Essential Service Photograph
Photograph from "Women in Essential Service" by Ann Rosener, 1943; M1946, flat Box 24, Folder 1

After the war, Rosener lived and worked in the Los Angeles area, where she continued developing her talents as a photographer and designer. Her brief marriage to Frank Perls, the prominent art dealer and gallery owner, brought her into contact with a number of important artists, including William Brice and Rico Lebrun, whom she photographed at work in their studios. During this period, she also completed a variety of other eclectic projects, including design work for the Borax Museum in Death Valley, as well as assisting with research and design for the film Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

Around the World in 80 Days
Photograph of Shirley MacLaine by Ann Rosener on the set of "Around the World in 80 Days"; M1946, Box 15, folder 3

After returning to the Bay Area, Rosener worked at Stanford University from 1964 to 1988, designing exhibition catalogues and posters for the Stanford Museum of Art, as well as materials for the Stanford Development Office. In 1976, Rosener founded her own private press, Occasional Works, and published a wide range of titles, including poetry anthologies and artists’ books.

The papers are now open for research, and a finding aid to the collection is available on the Online Archive of California.