Robert McNeely Photographic Archive
The Briscoe Center has acquired the Robert McNeely Photographic Archive. McNeely’s career in photojournalism includes work as a White House photographer in the administrations of presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. His new book, The Making of Hillary Clinton, will be published in December by the University of Texas Press as part of the Briscoe Center’s Focus on American History series.
“I want to express my sincere thanks to Bob, not only for choosing the center as the home for his photographs but also for his outstanding efforts to capture the visual history of our country,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “Bob’s new book — which is drawn solely from images found in his photographic archive — is thoughtful, stunning and timely.”
McNeely grew up in Virginia and upstate New York. As a young, anti-war veteran in 1972, McNeely photographed his way onto the payroll of George McGovern’s presidential campaign. In 1973, he moved to Washington, talking his way into political events, and selling the resulting photographs to newspapers and magazines. By 1976, he was well known in Democratic circles. He subsequently became an official White House photographer assigned to Vice President Walter Mondale. McNeely left the White House in the spring of 1980 and returned to freelancing. In 1992, Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Bill Clinton hired him to photograph his presidential campaign. After Clinton’s election, McNeely was appointed chief White House photographer. He also covered the 2000 presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s campaign for U.S. Senate the same year. In 2009, he served as director of photography for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
“One of the great things about having my archives at the center is that it’s not just my archive but how it interacts with those of other photojournalists that are here,” said McNeely. “That’s the beauty of the Briscoe Center. Researchers can get a pretty total picture of how all the collections fit together in creating a comprehensive visual history.”
The McNeely Archive is as extensive as it is historically valuable. Divided into two portions, the archive covers his four decades in photojournalism. One portion includes personally selected images McNeely produced and printed during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as well as a large selection of his work as official White House photographer. The other portion consists of thousands of negatives, contact sheets and prints that he produced over the course of his career.