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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 3188

Elsa Dorfman papers


Personal and professional papers of American portrait photographer, Elsa Dorfman.


  • circa 1937-2017

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Conditions Governing Use

Includes audiovisual media: audiocassettes and videocassettes.


21.25 linear feet (26 boxes)
Collection includes poetry, prose, correspondence, biographical and critical files, family documents and photographs, business and teaching files, and ephemera. Contains address books and mailing lists; appointment books, notes and notebooks, audio-visual and born-digital material; articles, biographies, and publications about Dorfman; calendars; correspondence, much of which relates to publication and exhibition; ephemera; family photographs; manuscripts; photography equipment; promotional materials; realia; teaching materials; website materials; posters; and publications.

Biographical / Historical

Elsa Dorfman (1937- ) was introduced to photography in 1965 and became a renowned portrait photographer, now known for her use of a large-format instant Polaroid camera. She is married to criminal defense and civil liberties litigator, Harvey Silverglate, with whom she has a son, Isaac. Dorfman retired in 2015.


Collection is minimally processed. Materials are loosely arranged into series.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2019M-3. Purchased with funds from the Gore Vidal Endowment Fund for Arts and Letters, 2019 July.

2022M-22. Gift, Estate of Elsa Dorfman, 2021 October.

Processing Information

Processed by Melanie Wisner, 2018, Magdaline Lawhorn, 2019, and Betts Coup, 2021.
Link to catalog
Dorfman, Elsa. Elsa Dorfman papers, circa 1937-2017 (MS Am 3188): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 July 13
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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