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Arnold de Mille papers

Identifier: 600

Scope and Contents

Photo journalist Arnold de Mille (1908-1996) spent his career capturing the African American experience for the better part of the twentieth century, as well as recording the African experience during a time of volatility and upheaval. His papers and photographs span this storied career with a significant amount of these materials dedicated to beauty culture, the Civil Rights Movement, and his work for the United Nations. Included are issues from the short-lived Newspic, including one issue that featured the musical gifts of a rising star, Helena (Lena) Horne, whose ascension in the entertainment industry de Mille covered for the magazine.  The collection contains a large number of de Mille’s photographs and slides featuring writers and musicians such as Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington, politicians such as Ruth Williams, Adam Clayton Powell, and Nelson Mandela, athletes such as Althea Gibson and Jackie Robinson, as well as color snapshots documenting the March on Washington.  It is comprised of 610 photographs, 6,941 slides, 420 negatives, 142 transparencies, and 24 audio recordings.


  • Created: 1942-1996
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1950-1970
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/01/2000


Conditions Governing Access

The Arnold de Mille papers are open and available for research use

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Biographical Note

Arnold de Mille’s (1908-1996) work may be found in publications such as the Negro World (1927-1932), Newspic (1940-1942), the Chicago Defender, the New York Age Defender (1950-1955), and Dawn Magazine (1970s). He served under the Federal Writers Project, WPA (1937-1939) and he later worked in the beauty culture industry as a photographer-writer for Milady Publishing Corporation. As a United Nations news photographer (1948-1961) and correspondent (1978-1987), de Mille traveled the world to interview leaders and to document their countries, their victories, and their struggles. He also served as the press relations director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund under Thurgood Marshall and, later in his career, worked for the City of New York as the assistant personnel director.


12.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Arnold de Mille papers reflects the progression of de Mille’s career and are ordered into nine series: Personal Manuscript Materials; Newspic, Images, and Exhibits; Civil Rights and National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) Organizational Materials; Beauty Culture; United Nations; City of New York Civil Service; Artifacts; Audiovisual Materials; and Oversized Items.

Source of Acquisition

Valerie de Mille

Method of Acquisition


Appraisal Information

The collections’ strength is in the photographic materials from the 1950s and 1960s, which document civil rights, New York Civil Service Programs and famous African Americans.  The files from his time as a U.N. Correspondent in the late 1970s is also of value with files organized by country and consisting of photographs, articles, and interview transcripts of the various African Ambassadors involved during that time period.

Processing Information

The Arnold de Mille Papers were processed from September 2011 to March 2012.

Arnold de Mille papers
Melissa Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222