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Ernest G. Welch photographs collection

Identifier: V2010-03

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ernest G. Welch photographs collection consists of photographic prints, slides, snapshots, negatives, personal correspondence, a World War II-era scrapbook, mementos, videotapes, and notebooks. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs in a variety of formats, both artistic and snapshots, taken in such places as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and all over Europe. The collection also includes books on the technical aspects of photography and class materials created by Welch during his graduate work at Georgia State University.

Many smaller boxes of Welch photographic prints or negatives have been housed together in cartons.

117 of Welch's photographs and sketches have been digitized. Consult Georgia State University Library Digital Collections for access.


  • Creation: 1901-2012


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

Biography of Ernest G. Welch

A longtime resident of Atlanta, Ernest Gaines Welch (1906-2009) earned a business degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1928. He went on to serve in counterintelligence during World War II and landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach 10 days after the invasion. He was stationed in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, where he took photographs of the war effort.

Welch’s deep interest in photography eventually took him across the globe, from capturing images of wildlife in Africa to studying under the renowned photographer Ansel Adams. Welch’s specialty was platinum palladium prints, a process used by such photographers as Irving Penn, Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston.

After a decades-long career as a manager for Sonoco Products Company, Ernest Welch formalized his study of photography by enrolling in Georgia State’s art school in his late 80s; he earned a bachelor of fine arts in photography from the university in 1999. During fall semester 2002, Welch enrolled in introductory painting and drawing classes in order to continuously improve his photography skills. He continued his self-education when he took up digital photography at 102 years of age. Welch became a generous benefactor to the GSU art school, and it was named in honor of his generosity and passion in 2003.


62.9 Linear Feet (in 47 boxes)

Language of Materials



Longtime Atlanta resident and philanthropist Ernest Welch was also an avid amateur photographer who travelled the world. Having served as an intelligence officer during World War II and after retiring from Sonoco Products, went back to school at Georgia State University to study photography. The Ernest G. Welch collection consists of photographic prints, slides, snapshots, negatives, personal correspondence and a scrapbook, mementos, videotapes, and notebooks.


The collection is arranged into two series:

  1. Series I: Photographic Material
  2. Series II: Manuscripts, Artifacts, Audiovisual records

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design in several installments (the School retained Mr. Welch's photographic equipment); deed of gift signed August 2011. On May 6, 2013, the Welch School delivered a DVD-R labelled "Ernest Welch last photos" (image files that were still in one of the digital cameras they received).

Digitization Note

The World War II-era scrapbook and 117 of Welch's photographs and sketches have been digitized and are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Processing Information

Processed by Aaron Brown, 2012. Inventoried by Minh Ngyuen, 2016. Rehoused by Tierra Thomas, 2017.

Ernest G. Welch:
A Guide to His Photograph Collection at Georgia State University Library
Aaron Brown
Spring 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)