Oliver F. Atkins, photographer

01/12/10 The National Archives yesterday opened up a huge (280,000 pages) trove of Nixon-era materials including 7,000 images from the personal collection of White House photographer Olliver “Ollie” F. Atkins.

The collection includes negatives, transparencies, prints, contact sheets and related publications from a career spanning from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Atkins was a photographer for the American Red Cross during WWII. As such, he documented the lives of refugees, prisoners of war and combatants in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

[Medics offload wounded near the front-lines in Italy, World War II]

[Central European refugees arrive in Italy during World War II]

After the war, Atkins joined the staff of the Saturday Evening Post as Washington correspondent and spent two decades photographing the political and social life of the city.

[Adlai Stevenson receives the “Johnson” treatment at a fundraising dinner]

[Slums in the shadow of Federal Buildings in the District of Columbia in the post-war years, circa 1946] It looks to me like the Treasury Building in the background.

[Senator Joe McCarthy, emerging from a pool (June 1947)]

[President Harry S Truman throws out the first ball (probably Opening Day 1948) at a game between the Washington Senators and the New York Yankees]

[casual portrait of young second-term Congressman Richard Nixon, on the Capitol grounds. Undated.]

Atkins was chief photographer for the 1968 Nixon-Agnew campaign and became President Nixon’s White House photographer after the 1969 Inauguration. Of his many images of Nixon, the series documenting the 12/18/70 meeting with Elvis became the most famous and most requested Nixon photograph.

Researchers can explore the collection at the National Archives College Park, MD facility and at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA.

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