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Alfred Wertheimer photo and drawing collection

Identifier: MG.024

Scope and Contents

The Alfred Wertheimer photo and drawing collection contains 100 print photos that document Wertheimer's career after graduating from The Cooper Union in 1951. This portion of the collection includes advertising stills; images of New York life that include the funeral of sidewalk fiddler Giuseppe Ravita and an exhibition by fellow Cooper alum Sue Ferguson Gussow A'56; amd candid shots of a young Elvis. The collection also contains 103 drawings, paintings, and etchings produced by Wertheimer during his time at The Cooper Union. This portion of the collection contains graphic design pieces for products, paintins of animals and dinosaurs, and sketches of various figures.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1964


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from The Cooper Union Archives and Special Collections. For more information, please email

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Wertheimer (1929-2014) was a photographer, cinematographer and film editor. Born in Germany, Wertheimer and his family moved to New York in 1936 to escape Nazi persecution. After attending Haaren High School in Manhattan, Wertheimer graduated from The Cooper Union art program in 1951. He enlisted after graduation and served as an Army photographer until returning to New York in 1954. As a photojournalist he worked for fashion photographer Tom Palumbo and RCA Victor Records, who commissioned him to shoot some of the earliest photos of Elvis Presley. As cinematographer he worked on The Making of the President (1963), Woodstock (1970), and many other full-length and short films.

Wertheimer's work continues to be shown in solo exhibitions by respected institutions, including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; Akron Museum of Art, Ohio; Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania; The Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles; Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee; Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona; Worcester Ari Museum, Massachusetts. Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina; Experience Music Project, Seattle; The Grammy Museum, Los Angeles; Australian National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Folkwang Museum, Germany; Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow; and Mondo Galeria, Madrid.


203 Sheets : 100 photographs; 103 drawings, paintings, and etchings

Language of Materials



The Alfred Wertheimer photo and drawing collection contains 100 photographs taken by Wertheimer after his graduation from Cooper Union in 1951, including a selection of some of the first photographs of a young Elvis. The collection also contains 103 drawings, paintings, and etchings produced by Wertheimer during his time at The Cooper Union, some of them studies for photographs.


This collection has been arranged firstly by material type, secondly by date, as available.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

92 photographs in this collection were donated by MUUS Photography LLC. 8 photographs of Elvis were donated by Katja B. Goldman and Michael W. Sonnenfeldt. Non-photographic materials were donated by MUUS Asset Management Co, LLC.

Mary Mann
February 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • March 2023: Materials organized and added, Anjanisari Ramadhani

Repository Details

Part of the The Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections Repository

Cooper Union Library
7 East 7th Street
New York New York 10003 United States