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Nitrate reference copies available online
Nathan Lerner collection of visual materials [graphic].
Lerner, Nathan, 1913-1997, photographer.
[ca. 1933-1997]
Phys. desc: 
ca. 100 photographic prints : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller. (Series 1).
ca. 50 photograph prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. (Series 1).
ca. 100 photographic prints : col. ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller. (Series 2).
ca. 50 photographic prints : col. ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. (Series 2).
4 photomechanical prints (posters) : col. ; 32 x 21 in. and smaller. (Series 3).
2 boxes (index cards). (Series 4).
ca. 12,750 negatives : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. (Series 5).
1 negative : cellulose nitrate ; 5 x 7 in. (Series 5).
ca. 2000 transparencies (slides) : col. ; 35 mm. (Series 6).
ca. 1900 negatives : col. ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller. (Series 7).
5 films : b&w ; 16 mm. (Series 8).
3 films : col. ; 16 mm. and smaller. (Series 9).
8 videotapes. (Series 10).
Nitrate negatives restricted from access, see reference copies instead.
Advance appointment required to view color material in cold storage or negatives in cool storage; please email
In order to view an original videotape or motion picture film, a research copy must be made.
An addition to the collection (accession 2008.0167.2-.24) is closed until processed and not described in detail in this record.
Credit photographer. Reproduction of items from this collection must be authorized by the donor or designated agent.
Visual materials by or about Nathan Lerner relating to his career as a photographer, artist, educator, and inventor and to his personal life. He was associated with the New Bauhaus, the School of Design, and later the Institute of Design in Chicago (Ill.) for many years. Collection contains primarily original negatives and slides of his early photographic work, of his paintings, and of his design work, including his lightbox explorations. Most negatives are not represented by photoprints in this collection. Photoprints in the collection are primarily family snapshots made in the United States, Japan, Mexico, or Europe and contact sheets, clippings from contact sheets, and other work prints. Also present are index cards (3 x 5 in.) by Lerner cataloging dates and locations for many of his photographs; exhibition posters for some of his exhibits, films, and videos; and films and videos about his work.
Films include "Nathan Lerner, the Bauhaus Years" (1972) and "Nathan Lerner Outtakes," and videos include "It's All About Light," by Ben Kerns; "Nathan Lerner, The Bauhaus Years, 1935-1945," by Gerald Fromberg (1974); "School of Design/ Jealousy - Do not Disturb," by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and School of Design students; "Bauhaus in America," by Judith Pearlman, and "Nathan Lerner interview," by Ben Kerns (1983).
The collection is divided by medium and, within each medium, organized by estimated date.
Finding aid: 
Descriptive inventory available for accession 2000.0200 but does not include accession 2008.0167.2-.24.
The Institute of Design began in Chicago in 1937 as the New Bauhaus; closed in 1938; reopened in 1939 as the Chicago School of Design; changed name in 1944 to the Institute of Design; became part of the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1949.
Local note: 
Video viewing copies are available for most films and videos in the collection, but not for those in accession 2008.0167.2-.24.
Mr. Lerner died in 1997.
Other copy: 
Nitrate reference copies available online.
Digitization and preservation of the nitrate negatives was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include Maxwell Street photographs by Nathan Lerner (2000.0194.2-38), and separately, a single exhibition photograph of the Maxwell Street area (1992.0248), and the Nathan Lerner papers (2000.0194.1). There also is a published version of the Maxwell Street photographs.
Gift of Kiyoko Lerner (2000.0200, 2008.0167.2-.24).
Forms part of the Institute of Design collection at Chicago History Museum, Research Center.
Subject per: 
Lerner, Nathan, 1913-1997 -- Portraits.
Lerner, Nathan, 1913-1997 -- Family
Subject corp: 
New Bauhaus (Chicago, Ill.)
Institute of Design (Chicago, Ill.)
Illinois Institute of Technology. Institute of Design.
Maxwell Street Market (Chicago, Ill.) -- Photographs. Negatives.
Subj topic: 
Designers -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Photographers -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Design, Industrial -- United States -- 20th century.
Decoration and ornament -- International style.
Subject geo: 
Chicago (Ill.) -- 1930-1999.
Japan -- Description and travel -- 20th century -- Photographs.
Mexico -- Description and travel -- 20th century -- Photographs.
Video recordings.
Film negatives -- Color.
Motion pictures.
Slides -- Color.
Portrait photographs.
Film negatives.
Photographic prints -- Color.
Gelatin silver prints.
Fromberg, Gerald. Nathan Lerner, the Bauhaus years, 1935-1945.
Kerns, Ben. It's all about light.
Pearlman, Judith. Bauhaus in America [Videotape]
Chicago History Museum. Research Center. Institute of Design Collection.
Illinois Institute of Technology. Institute of Design
Copy/Holding information
Call No.CopyCollectionStatus 
2000.0200 PFLSeries 3: photomechanicalPhotos-Use white callslipChecked In
2000.0200 PPLSeries 1: b&w photosPhotos-Use white callslipChecked In
2008.0167 PHclosedPhotos-Use white callslipChecked In
2000.0200 PCP0188-0190Series 2: color photosPhotos-Use white callslip-Advance notice requiredAdvance Request
2000.0200 PCT0206-0209Series 6: color slidesPH-orig slides-Advance notice requiredAdvance Request
2000.0200 PNGSeries 4: index cardsPH: Non-graphicChecked In
2000.0200 PNNSeries 5 b&w neg.Photos-orig negative-Advance notice requiredIn Cataloging
2000.0200 PPN0340-0349Series 5: b&w neg.Photos-orig negative-Advance notice requiredAdvance Request
2000.0200 PCN0030Series 7: color neg.PH-orig neg. color-Advance notice requiredAdvance Request
2000.0200 CFSeries 9: color filmsFilm/video orig-Ask staffAdvance Request
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