A Finding Aid to the
Ben Rosen Photograph Collection
Manuscript Collection No. 748
1920-2000. 15.6 Linear ft.
ACCESS AND PROVENANCE
The Ben Rosen Photograph Collection was donated to the American Jewish Archives in April 2007 by Ben Rosen. Ben Rosen, by the act of donating this collection to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Copyright to all the images is held by Ben Rosen. Questions concerning use and rights should be addressed to the Mr. Rosen. The Ben Rosen Photograph collection is open for study and research to all users and is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH top
Ben Rosen was born in 1913 to Russian Jewish immigrants. As a boy, he lived in Newport, Kentucky. His parents moved to the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati when Ben was an adolescent. At age thirteen, he was employed as a newspaper boy. In 1927, while attending Withrow High School, Ben was hired as an apprentice by local freelance photographer, Dan Morgenthaler. It was in the same year that Ben received his first major photographic assignment, capturing Charles Lindbergh’s victory tour stop at Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport.
On January 30, 1937 Dan Morgenthaler died after a long illness. Rosen purchased the company from Morgenthaler’s widow and immediately went to work producing images of the worst recorded flood in Cincinnati history. In 1943, Rosen was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to the 34th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and worked in the lab. With the war’s end, Ben returned to Cincinnati in 1945 to resume his work in photography.
Ben Rosen’s photography career spanned over 75 years, the most productive of which occurred after World War II. In that period, he captured images of sports stars, politicians, and dignitaries such as Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, his work for The American Israelite and The Catholic Telegraph candidly documented religious life in Cincinnati. Finally, Ben’s work in real estate photography has left a bountiful cache of historic photos of Cincinnati. As of this writing in 2007, Ben recently retired at age 94. His life’s work provides an amazing visual record of 20th Century Cincinnati.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE top
The BEN ROSEN PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION contains prints, negatives, slides, and the papers of Cincinnati photographer Ben Rosen. The collection spans the years 1920 to 2000, approximately.
The collection is divided into six series as folllows:
SERIES A. PRINTS
Sub-Series 1. Celebrities
Sub-Series 2. Ben Rosen Biographical Prints
Sub-Series 3. Cincinnati
Sub-Series 4. Jewish Related Prints
Sub-Series 5. Social Events
Sub-Series 6. Social Events (Continued)
Sub-Series 7. Catholic Related Prints
Sub-Series 8. Professional Work
Sub-Series 9. Real Estate
SERIES B. BEN ROSEN PAPERS
SERIES C. LARGE FORMAT PRINTS
SERIES D. LARGE FORMAT NEGATIVES
Sub-Series 1. Historic Cincinnati
Sub-Series 2. Cincinnati Mid-Century
Sub-Series 3. Professional Work
SERIES E. SMALLER FORMAT NEGATIVES
Sub-Series 1. Ben Rosen, Celebrities, Historic Cincinnati
Sub-Series 2. Historic Cincinnati
Sub-Series 3. Cincinnati
Sub-Series 4. Jewish Related Negatives
Sub-Series 5. Jewish Related Negatives (Continued)
Sub-Series 6. Catholic Related Negatives
Sub-Series 7. Catholic Related Negatives (Continued)
Sub-Series 8. Social Events
Sub-Series 9. Social Events (Continued)
Sub-Series 10. Social Events (Continued)
Sub-Series 11. Portraits
Sub-Series 12. Miscellaneous
Sub-Series 13. Commercial Real Estate
Sub-Series 14. Commercial Real Estate (Continued)
Sub-Series 15. Real Estate
Sub-Series 16. Residential Real Estate
SERIES F. SLIDES
SERIES A is divided into nine sub-series. These categories were designed to place the most relevant images towards the beginning of the series. Sub-series 1 contains a plethora of celebrity prints. Sub-series 2 contains images from the life of Ben Rosen including those of family, friends, and his experience in the Army during World War II. It should be noted that not all of the WWII images were photographed by Ben personally. Having worked in the photo development lab, he obtained images captured by fellow soldiers in the 34th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. Included with the WWII prints is a brief synopsis of where Ben was stationed during the war, along with a time line of major operations in the European Theater. Sub-series 3 contains many historic images of Cincinnati. As is the case with the WWII prints, it should be noted that not all of these images were captured by Ben. Some of the oldest prints in the collection, especially those from the 1920s & 1930s, were inherited by Ben when he took over the photography business of his boss, Dan Morgenthaler, in 1937. Sub-series 4 contains images of Jewish life in Cincinnati, of which Ben was an active participant. Sub-series 5 and 6 contain prints from various social events over the years. Sub-series 7 stems from Ben’s work for the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Finally, sub-series 8 & 9 represent the professional work of portraits, insurance claims, and real estate.
SERIES B contains the personal papers of Ben Rosen. These include scrap books, log books, personal and professional correspondence, and some biographical information.
SERIES C is comprised of large format prints of celebrities, real estate, and Rosen in World War II.
SERIES D is a collection of large format (8x10) negatives. Sub-series 1 contains historic images of Cincinnati including images of the University of Cincinnati and St. Xavier College (later Xavier University) in the 1920s and 1930s. Sub-series 2 comprises negatives of Cincinnati in the 1940s and 1950s, while sub-series 3 contains examples of Rosen's professional work.
SERIES E houses smaller format negatives, mainly 4 x 5. These are arranged in a similar manner to the prints with the most relevant images appearing at the beginning of the series. Sub-series 1 contains negatives of Ben Rosen’s life, celebrities, and historic images of Cincinnati. Sub-series 2 and 3 are comprised of negatives of Cincinnati from the 1940s through the 2000. Sub-series 4 and 5 pertain to the Jewish experience in Cincinnati. Sub-series 6 and 7 relate to Catholic life in the city. Images of various social events are the subject of sub-series 8 to 10, while the remainder of the series (11-16) contain images of Ben’s professional work including portraits, insurance claims, and real estate photos.
Finally, SERIES F houses a small number of slides of varying subject matter.
BOX AND FOLDER LISTING topBox Folder Contents SERIES A. Prints. Sub-Series 1. Celebrities. 1 1 Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II, Lindbergh 2 Pop Culture: Bob Hope, Wayne Newton, Nick Clooney, Perry Como 3 Politicians: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Cincinnati Mayors 4 Sports Stars: Reds, Royals, Bengals, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino Sub-Series 2. Biographical Prints. 2 1 Ben, Family, & Friends 2 Ben in 1930s & 1940s 3 Ben in World War II 4 World War II / Airplanes 5 World War II Europe Sub-Series 3. Cincinnati. 3 1 1937 Flood/ Union Terminal/ UC & XU c. 1930 2 Cincinnati Theater Houses: Albee, Keith, Shubert, 20th Century, etc. 3 Fountain Square 4 Wide Shots of Cincinnati 5 Cincinnati in the 1920s & 1930s 6 Cincinnati in the 1940s & 1950s 7 Cincinnati in the 1960s & 1970s 8 Cincinnati 1980 to the present 9 Cincinnati Neighborhoods & Undated Prints 10 Garfield Park, Riverfront Stadium, Kings Island Sub-Series 4. Jewish Related Prints. 4 1 Miscellaneous Photos: Memorials, Wedding/ Bar Mitzvah cakes 2 Weddings 3 Bar Mitzvahs 4 Various Social Events 5 Various Social Events 6 Various Social Events 7 Adath Israel 8 Schools 9 Synagogues, School Buildings, Community Centers 10 Rabbis, Seders 11 Jewish Organizations: BNai Brith, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Jewish National Fund, Israel Bonds 12 Jewish Organizations: National Council of Jewish Women, OJH, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Community Center, National Conference of Christians and Jews, American Red Magen David for Israel 13 Jewish Celebrities/ Celebrities at Jewish Events: Prime Minister Rabin, Albert Sabin, Jerry Springer, Oscar Robertson, Roger Staubach, Gerald Ford, Jehan Sadat, Alexander Haig, Abba Eban Sub-Series 5. Social Events. 5 1 Organizations 2 Speakers 3 Various Social Events 4 Various Social Events 5 Various Social Events 6 Various Social Events 7 Various Social Events 8 Various Social Events 9 Recreation 10 Corporate/ Business Photos 11 Corporate/ Business Photos Sub-Series 6. Social Events (Continued). 6 1 High School Reunions 2 Funeral 3 Anniversaries 4 Weddings 5 Weddings 6 Weddings 7 Weddings 8 Weddings 9 Weddings Sub-Series 7. Catholic Related Prints. 7 1 Bishops/ Cardinals 2 Various Religious Events 3 Various Social Events/ Priests 4 Various Social Events/ Sisters 5 Churches 6 Schools 7 Board of Education, Rectories, Convents, Seminaries Sub-Series 8. Professional Work. 8 1 Portraits 2 Miscellaneous Photos: Boats, Tools, Protestant Churches, Various Objects, Commercial Photos 3 Insurance Claims: Automobile Accidents, Home Damage, Crash Victims Sub-Series 9. Real Estate. 9 1 Commercial Real Estate 2 Residential Real Estate SERIES B. Ben Rosen Papers. 10 1 Biographical Info/ Examples of Work 2 Professional/ Personal Correspondence 3 Bills/ Invoices/ Notes 4 Log Books 5 Scrap Books SERIES C. Large Format Prints. 11 1 Ben Rosen in World War II 2 Jack Nicklaus & Bob Hope Golfing 3 Cincinnati Skyline c. 1970 4 Commercial Real Estate 5 Portraits SERIES D. Large Format Negatives. Sub-Series 1. Historic Cincinnati. 12 1 Ben Rosen in World War II, University of Cincinnati c. 1930 2 Catholic Negatives- St. Xavier College Boxing & Football Teams c. 1927 3 Cincinnati Theater Houses 4 Cincinnati in the 1920s & 1930s Sub-Series 2. Cincinnati Mid-Century. 13 1 Cincinnati in the 1940s & 1950s Sub-Series 3. Professional Work. 14 1 Social Events 2 Portraits, Residential/ Commercial Real Estate SERIES E. Smaller Format Negatives. Sub-Series 1. Ben Rosen, Celebrities, Historic Cincinnati. 15 1 Ben Rosen: Family & Friends 2 World War II 3 Cincinnati Celebrities 4 Sports Stars: Reds, Royals, Jack Nicklaus, Jesse Owens, Notre Dame Stars 5 Pop Culture: Bob Hope, Eddy Arnold, Loretta Young 6 Politicians 7 Dignitaries: Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Charles Lindbergh 8 Sports Venues: Crosley Field, Cincinnati Gardens 9 Union Terminal, Lunken Airport, Riverfront 10 Kings Island Construction 11 Cincinnati Theater Houses 12 1937 Flood 13 Fountain Square 14 Wide Shots of Cincinnati 15 Cincinnati in the 1920s & 1930s Sub-Series 2. Historic Cincinnati. 16 1 Cincinnati in the 1940s & 1950s 2 Cincinnati in the 1960s & 1970s Sub-Series 3. Cincinnati. 17 1 Cincinnati in the 1960s & 1970s (Continued) 2 Cincinnati 1980 to 2000 3 Cincinnati Neighborhoods Sub-Series 4. Jewish Related Negatives. 18 1 Jewish Celebrities/ Celebrities at Jewish Events 2 Synagogues, Community Centers 3 Rabbis 4 Jewish Organizations 5 Jewish Schools Sub-Series 5. Jewish Related Negatives (Continued). 19 1 Jewish Social Events 2 Adath Israel 3 Jewish Weddings 4 Bar Mitzvahs 5 Miscellaneous Jewish Related Photos Sub-Series 6. Catholic Related Negatives. 20 1 Catholic Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals 2 Catholic Priests 3 Catholic Nuns 4 Catholic Churches 5 Catholic Schools Sub-Series 7. Catholic Related Negatives (Continued). 21 1 St. Xavier College Boxing & Track Teams c. 1926 2 Catholic Organizations 3 Catholic Religious/ Social Events 4 Miscellaneous Catholic Related Photos 5 Various Social Events Sub-Series 8. Social Events. 22 1 Various Social Events Sub-Series 9. Social Events (Continued). 23 1 Various Social Events (Continued) Sub-Series 10. Social Events (Continued). 24 1 Various Social Events (Continued) Sub-Series 11. Portraits. 25 1 Portraits Sub-Series 12. Miscellaneous. 26 1 Portraits (Continued) 2 Protestant Churches 3 Cars, Airplanes, Schools 4 Miscellaneous Objects 5 Automobile Accidents/ Insurance Claims Sub-Series 13. Commercial Real Estate. 27 1 Commercial Real Estate Sub-Series 14. Commercial Real Estate (Continued). 28 1 Commercial Real Estate Sub-Series 15. Real Estate. 29 1 Commercial Real Estate 2 Residential Real Estate Sub-Series 16. Residential Real Estate. 30 1 Residential Real Estate (Continued) SERIES F. Slides. 30 2 Various Slidestop
Copyright © 2001 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives