Billy E. Barnes Photographic Collection (1959-1996)

Howard Lee speaks with voters during his campaign for Mayor of Chapel Hill in 1969
Howard Lee speaks with voters during his campaign for Mayor of Chapel Hill on April 29, 1969; ; p034-04-29-69, from the Billy E. Barnes Collection #P034, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

It has been a while since I have posted on the NC Miscellany Blog, so let me begin by introducing myself again; my name is Patrick Cullom and I am a visual materials archivist who processes photographic materials in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.  I am very pleased to be able to announce that after several months of work, I have finished processing the Billy Barnes Photographic Collection.  The Barnes materials include approximately 63,000 images taken across the state (with a concentration around the Durham/Orange County areas) that span almost 4 decades (1959-1996). These images offer a unique view into the economic and social changes experienced across the state during this period and the effects those changes had on the people of North Carolina.

Mr. Barnes began his career as a photographer in Atlanta, Georgia working for McGraw-Hill publishing company.  In 1964 Mr. Barnes was hired as the official photographer for the North Carolina Fund (a NC government funded poverty prevention/alleviation program begun by Governor Terry Sanford ca. 1963-1969) and as a result, a large portion of the collection documents the internal operations of the Fund and the people/communities directly effected by its work.  The materials also include images taken by Mr. Barnes as a free-lance photographer for numerous groups, organizations, and companies across the state (some formed during the years the NC Fund was active). His materials have been used in books published by more than 100 publishers and have appeared in over 100 magazine titles.  As of 2009, he lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., and continues to work as a free-lance photographer.

The full collection can now be searched/browsed using the newly created finding aid:
Researchers can also access digitized materials in the Billy Barnes digital collection at UNC via the finding aid.

3 thoughts on “Billy E. Barnes Photographic Collection (1959-1996)”

  1. Congratulations Patrick on all your good work on the Barnes Collection. This is a fantastic group of photographs and, like the McCauley Collection that you launched last November, becomes a valuable resource for the North Carolina Collection and the people of the state.

  2. Great to hear that the Billy Barnes collection is now cataloged. Congratulations Patrick. That must have been quite a chore.

    Not only does Wilson Library have a wonderful collection of Barnes’ photos, but the stacks also hold several taped interviews with Barnes. They were done under the guise of the Southern Oral History Program. Two of the interviews, conducted by UNC history grad student Elizabeth Gritter, were digitized. You can listen to them by clicking on the MP3 links on these pages:

    In one of the interviews Barnes tells the stories behind some of the photos. Now all that’s left for you, dear reader, is to figure out which of the 63,000 images he’s describing.

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