PALMQUIST PHOTO RESEARCH FUND

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Panoramic Photograph of the Humboldt Redwood Road, n.d. Photo by Emma B. Freeman. Courtesy of the Peter E. Palmquist Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

The Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research provides financial support to independent researchers who are studying either Western American photographers before 1900 or women photographers past and present. The Humboldt Area Foundation in Bayside, California, administers this fund, which solicits applications for grants once a year in the fall and awards the grants the following January. A small panel of outside consultants with professional expertise in the field of photohistory and/or grant reviewing determines each year’s awards.

Peter Palmquist (1936-2003) was considered one of the most important photo historians of the 20th century. He had a keen interest in the photography of the American West; California; Humboldt County, California, before 1950; and the history of women photographers worldwide. He published over 60 books and 340 articles, curated exhibitions, and consulted with museums and libraries before his life tragically was cut short.

Peter was the quintessential independent researcher-writer. His lifetime companion, Pam Mendelsohn, founder of the Fund, commented that had it not been for his untimely death, “I have no doubt that he would have eventually set up this fund himself to support other independent researchers-writers in the field.” Peter’s archives, more than 150,000 photographs and research materials, are available to researchers at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, through its website or by appointment.

The purpose of our website is to share the work of those who have received grants from the Fund. The first round of grants was awarded in December 2005. To date, 35 grants have been given. Each year, the site will be updated after the recipients share information on what they have accomplished with their grants. Reports for those who received grants in 2016 will be on the website in 2018. We hope you will enjoy reading about these projects, many of which are beautifully illustrated.


On Famous California Redwood Highway, n.d. Weott, CA. Art-Ray Company. Courtesy of the Peter E. Palmquist Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.