• Identification00143876
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Declan Haun papers, 1959-1994
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationDeclan Haun
  • Date1959-1994
  • Physical Description13 linear feet (29 boxes)
  • LocationMSS Lot H
  • LanguageEnglish

Research use of this collection is governed by the standard rules and regulations of the Chicago History Museum Research Center.

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Materials were a gift of the estate of Declan Haun (accession #: 2002.0098).

Declan Haun papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Professional, family, and personal correspondence of photojournalist Declan Haun as well as notes and reflections, mid-1960s; small notebooks (58 v.) about assignments, lists, etc., 1960-1990; date book calendars, 1967-1983; examples of Haun's published photo essays; items on educational activities in which he participated; manuscript by Richard Bradford about Gary, Indiana, that was to be illustrated with Haun's photographs if published; clippings and notes compiled by Haun as reference file; files relating to Haun's work for National Geographic magazine ca. 1977-1980s and his contributions to the Odyssey exhibition celebrating the magazine's 100th anniversary; plans for a photography magazine of his own; and other papers. Haun worked for the Charlotte Observer, 1958-1963; and as a freelancer for the Black Star agency, 1963-1994, while he resided in Chicago. There is relatively little material dating from 1967 to 1977.

Photojournalist Declan Haun was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 17, 1937. Although introduced to photography at a young age by his father Charles Haun, a Detroit Free Press photo-editor, Haun explored diverse academic fields, such as architecture (studying architecture and working briefly in an architectural firm) and Spanish, before turning to a career in photography. In 1958, Haun married Delores Jarvis, known as Dee. He worked for the Charlotte Observer, Black Star, and as a freelance photojournalist. He died in 1994 at age 56.

After working as an apprentice for Detroit freelance photographer Joe Clark, known as "the Hill Billy Snap Shooter," in 1957 to 1958, Haun joined the staff of the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1958. The Observer was one of only a handful of newspapers nationally that were using smaller format cameras in natural light rather than the medium-format Speed Graphic cameras traditionally used in newspaper photojournalism. This shift in technology resulted in a new aesthetic sensibility at the Observer, and Haun and his colleagues soon gained a national reputation for their artful and unorthodox coverage of the news.

In early 1963, Haun left the Observer after being hired by Black Star, an international picture agency representing freelancers. Being associated with the agency helped Haun get assignments covering news events with major magazines, such as Life, Newsweek, and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as assignments with advertising agencies for large corporate projects, such as annual reports and articles in trade journals for companies like International Harvester, Xerox, and American Airlines.

In late 1963, Black Star moved Haun to Chicago, where he lived and worked as a freelance photojournalist for the next 14 years. During his first decade with Black Star, Haun was given editorial assignments covering presidential campaigns and elections, such as the 1964 presidential campaigns of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and Alabama Governor George Wallace, as well as the political conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties in 1964 and 1968. In 1965, Haun covered the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.

Throughout the 1960s, Haun also covered numerous events in the struggle for civil rights for African Americans, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); the aftermath of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963; the gathering of supporters in Selma, Alabama, before the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965 (though Haun was unable to attend the actual march); and the funeral of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. Additionally, his 1961 photograph of a young civil rights worker demonstrating in Monroe, North Carolina, entitled "Justice" (made during his employment at the Charlotte Observer), appeared throughout the decade in numerous exhibitions and publications urging support for the civil rights movement. Living in Chicago, Haun was well positioned to document the struggles for civil rights in the Midwest, including school boycotts (1963), the West Side, Chicago race riots (1965), open housing marches in the Ashburn neighborhood of Chicago (1966), the CORE march in Cicero, Illinois (1966), the Blackstone Rangers street gang (1967), and the mayoral campaign and election of African American lawyer Richard Hatcher in Gary, Indiana (1967).

Haun's extensive coverage of the mayoral campaign of African-American attorney Richard Hatcher in Gary, Indiana in 1967 led to his collaboration with writer Robert Bradford. Bradford and Haun aimed to describe the conditions of poverty, racial inequity, and political corruption that inspired the candidate's run for office in their unpublished book entitled: The Crossroads. During this time he also did a considerable amount of work for advertising agencies and corporate clients.

From 1967-1969, Haun worked under exclusive contract for Life magazine, which restricted him from working for any of the magazine's national competitors, including Look and the Saturday Evening Post. The rights to any negatives Haun made while on assignment for Life during this period are owned by the magazine, and images are retained in its archive. Haun continued to be represented by Black Star during this period, but, given the restrictions of his Life contract the majority of his work for the agency was industrial and commercial assignments.

From 1969-1976, Haun continued to work as a freelance photographer in Chicago while also exploring other career opportunities, such as film making and film production for Washington, D.C. based Guggenheim Productions. In 1971, Haun produced a short film entitled Real Self for Guggenheim which included a number of his own photographs, as well as those of photographers Jack Jaffe, Michael Mauney, and John White.

Though he remained associated with Black Star until his death in 1994 his most active period with the agency ended in 1976, when he moved from Chicago to Washington D.C. to work as an illustrations editor for the National Geographic magazine. Haun worked for National Geographic until 1982. From 1982-1984 Haun worked in a similar position for Smithsonian Magazine. He also taught an introductory photojournalism course at George Washington University between 1977 and 1988.

Haun conceived of and was co-curator of the Corcoran Gallery exhibition "Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic," which highlighted the 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society in 1988. The exhibition was very successful and went on a worldwide tour of 27 venues between 1988 and 1991. Haun also worked as project editor for illustrations for the National Geographic 100 Year Index, a book published in 1989 that contained 1243 pictures, including many from the Odyssey exhibit.

During the years 1989 to 1993, Haun conceived of a small business that met with varying degrees of success. Known as "The Q Street Group" and later as "Odyssey Communications," this business was a consortium for the creation and production of editorial material for magazines, books, and other quality publications. Haun also collaborated with colleagues to create a proposed magazine called Odyssey, that was to be an "international literary and photographic travel magazine" with each issue devoted to a single theme. Haun died March 7, 1994, in Washington, D.C., at age 56, from throat cancer.

  • Names
    • Haun, Declan--Archives
    • Bradford, Richard
    • Hatcher, Richard G.
    • Black Star (Picture agency)
    • National Geographic Society (U.S.)
    • Charlotte Observer
    • Life
    • Saturday Evening Post
  • Subject
    • African Americans--United States--20th century
    • Civil Rights Movements--United States--20th century
    • Periodicals--Publishing--United States--20th century
    • Photographers--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Photographers--United States--20th century
    • Photojournalists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Photojournalists--United States--20th century
    • Travel--United States--20th century--Exhibitions
  • Geographic CoverageGary (Ind.)--Politics and government--20th century

The collection is arranged into seven series, the first of which is arranged into four subseries.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1959-1994 (boxes 1-11)

Haun was a prolific letter-writer and often saved carbons (and later photocopies) of his outgoing correspondence. His early correspondence is organized by recipient, but in later years (1977-1994) correspondence is organized by year. There are also significant items of correspondence included within Series 3, 4, and 5.

Subseries 1. Correspondence with individuals (boxes 1-3)

This subseries is organized alphabetically by surname.

Subseries 2. Correspondence with clients, groups and associations (boxes 4-5)

This subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries 3. Correspondence with family members, 1963-1994 (box 6)

This subseries is arranged chronologically, with the bulk of the subseries covering the years 1980-1994. These include correspondence with Haun's children, father and siblings, as well as other family members.

Subseries 4. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1977-1993 (boxes 6-11)

This subseries is arranged by year. This is almost entirely personal correspondence, Christmas and birthday cards, and the like.

Series 2. Personal, 1960-1990 (boxes 12-14)

The first box contains personal biographic information and miscellany, including diary-like notes (from the mid-1960s) with Haun's reflections on his life and career. The second box contains 58 small notebooks from the years 1960-1990 that contain notes on assignments, lists, or random thoughts. The last box holds Haun's date book calendars from the years 1967-1983.

Series 3. Assignments, stories and publications, 1958-1990 (boxes 15-17, & 29)

This series contains material relating to specific assignments or stories including both published work and story ideas. The series is arranged chronologically. There are many examples of Haun's work in context, newspaper and magazine clippings of or about Haun's work, brochures from exhibitions featuring Haun, and Haun's notes and correspondence concerning possible stories. Also included is the manuscript for a book entitled "The Crossroads" that was written by Richard Bradford which, had it been published, would have included Haun's photographs taken in Gary, Indiana. Box 29 is also part of Series 3 and contains copies of The Saturday Evening Post and LIFE magazine with photo essays by Haun.

Series 4. Educational activities, 1960-1989. (boxes 18-19)

This series contains material reflecting Haun's participation in several workshops on photography, speeches given at conferences, and teaching materials for photojournalism courses taught by Haun.

Series 5. Clippings, reference, brochures, projects, 1957-1993 (boxes 20-21)

This series contains clippings and other reference materials collected by Haun but that do not include content specifically related to him. These include articles about photography and photojournalism, articles about friends and colleagues, as well as some miscellaneous notes. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 6. National Geographic Society (boxes 22-25)

This series consists of material relating to Haun's work for National Geographic. He was picture editor for National Geographic magazine from 1977 to 1982, and did some freelance work for National Geographic Traveler magazine in the late 1980s. The bulk of the material in this series is related to his work on the "Odyssey" exhibition of photographs, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the magazine.

Series 7. Business ventures, 1989-1993 (boxes 26-28)

This series includes notes, correspondence and other materials relating to Haun's business ventures, the bulk of which relates to his idea for a photography magazine. The magazine was never launched, but detailed proposals, plans, story ideas and issues were created, and are included here.