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Yavno (Max) photograph collection
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of the Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Yavno (Max) Photographs Collection
    Dates: circa 1945-1950
    Collection number: D.Mss.0975
    Creator: Yavno, Max (1911 - 1985)
    Extent: 2 boxes
    Repository: Scripps College. Ella Strong Denison Library. Claremont, CA 91711.
    Abstract: The Max Yavno photograph collection contains photographs taken by Yavno of the Scripps College campus and of Scripps student life from 1945 to 1950. Some of the photographs were published in 1950 in The Los Angeles Book, which Yavno co-created with Lee Shipley.
    Physical location: Please consult repository.
    Language of materials: Languages represented in the collection: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in writing to Denison Library.

    Preferred Citation

    Max Yavno Photographs. Ella Strong Denison Library, Libraries of The Claremont Colleges.

    Acquisition Information

    Commissioned by Scripps College, circa 1945.

    Processing History

    Processed by Lorain Wang in 2003. All of the photographs were received mounted and have been maintained in its original format. In processing the collection, each photograph was assigned a unique identification number.


    Max Yavno was born in New York City on April 26, 1911. He is known for his work in fine art and commercial photography and for his ability to capture urban life in his photographs. After earning his Bachelor of Social Science from the City College of New York in 1932, he attended the School of Business Administration at Columbia University and a year later, enrolled in Columbia's political science graduate program. In 1935, Yavno worked briefly as a social worker at the New York City Home Relief Bureau. It was during the mid-1930s that Yavno became involved in photography professionally, working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a photographer. He also joined the Photo League and later served as president of the organization in 1938. During World War II, Yavno served in the United States Army Air Force as a photography instructor. After returning from the war, Yavno moved to Los Angeles in 1945 where he worked as a freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In 1948, he collaborated with Herb Caen to create The San Francisco Book, which contained photographs taken by Yavno. In 1950, another compilation of Yavno's photographs was published in The Los Angeles Book, with text written by Lee Shipley. During the 1950s, Yavno devoted his skills to commercial photography and was awarded the New York Art Directors Gold Medal in 1954 and 1955. In 1954, he opened a commercial photography studio in Los Angeles. During the 1960s, Yavno's The Story of Wine in California and Natzler Ceramics were published. In 1975, Yavno turned away from commercial photography to focus on creating artistic photographs, traveling to Death Valley in California and to other countries including Israel, Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at various galleries around the country. In 1981, The Photography of Max Yavno was published. At the age of 74, Max Yavno passed away on March 4, 1985. Citations:
    "A Biography of Max Yavno." UCR/California Museum of Photography. 23 June 2003 www.cmp.ucr.edu/exhibitions/yavno/bio.html.
    "The Artists and Their Visions." Center for Creative Photography. 23 June 2003 www.library.arizona.edu/branches/ccp/education/guides/sisyavgd/artguid.htm.
    "Max Yavno Chronology." Center for Creative Photography. 23 June 2003 www.library.arizona.edu/branches/ccp/education/guides/sisyavgd/yavchrn.htm.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The collection is comprised of photographs taken by Max Yavno around the Scripps College campus from 1945 to 1950. Most of the photographs capture student life both in and outside the classroom as well as members of the Scripps faculty interacting with students. Some of the photographs were published in 1950 in Yavno's book, The Los Angeles Book.