Chipmunks and Children: The Photography and Life of Ruth Alexander Nichols

Document 1: 21 August 1917, Ruth Alexander to Herman Nichols   |    Document 2: 23 August 1918, Albert Britt to Ruth Alexander
Document 3: 1919 Thomas Clay O’Donnell to Ruth Alexander   |    Document 4: 23 May 1927 Jean M. Whitman to Ruth Nichols
Document 5: 20 June 1931- W. C. Vogt to Ruth Nichols   |    Document 6 & 7 Introduction
Document 6: 14 June 1950, W.H. Zippler to Ruth Nichols     |    Document 7: 20 June 1950, Ruth Nichols to W.H. Zippler
Document 8: 1953 – Better Homes and Gardens Transcript       |     Bibliography

Document 7: 20 June 1950, Ruth Nichols to W.H. Zippler

Author: Ruth Nichols

Recipient: W.H. Zippler

Date: 20 June 1950

Location: Nichols Family Papers, Record Group 30/372, Series VI: Professional Correspondence of Ruth A. Nichols Nichols, Box 1. O.C.A.

Document Type: Typed Letter

Original                       Both                    Transcription



1950 zippler letter


June 20. 1950

Roche, Williams & Cleary, Inc.,

135 South La Salle St.,

Chicago 3, Illinois

Dear Mr. Zippler,

Barry Baby
Barry Bailey, 1951. Nichols’ caption, which gives both the identification code for the picture and the company she sold the photo to, reads: “70 B-1: Rtu- Grey Adv. – Mennen”
Source: Series XIII. Photographs, Box 5. Nichols Family Papers, RG 30/372. O.C.A.

        When you purchase a picture on an exclusive all rights basis as you did, it becomes your [sic] for all time on that one negative or any that would be too similar to it. We reserve the right to use any others from the set of pictures, but only after you have used yours. If you wish us to close the entire set forever, weenaturally [sic] would have to charge more. In this case I think there was no other with exactly this pose or expression.[1]


catherine collins photos
Catherine Collins modeled extensively for Nichols. The caption for the top photo reads: “33c-1 June 7 1949 All Rights to G.W. Thompson, Libby Baby Food (they have negatives).” The caption for the bottom photo is “33c-39 Dec 1949 Birmingham, Castleman and Pierce Rtu.”
Source: Series XIII. Photographs, Box 5. Nichols Family Papers, RG 30/372. O.C.A.

  Incidentally I really took this picture specially but of course charged you only our usual price for an exclusive picture which we might have had on hand. The last time you asked for something we fell flat and this time I didn’t want that to happen. I am only telling you this in the hope that I may be able to convince you that many of the things you want, we could shoot specially with good results, particularly if you will allow some liberties (as in this ccase [sic]) with the layout.

                We do sell pictures on an exclusive basis for limited specified times of 3 months, 6 months or 1 year if it is so desired, after which time has elapsed, such shots become stock pictures. Of course these rights are less expensive than exclusive all rights.

                                Sincerely yours,


[Transcribed by Willa Kerkhoff.]


[1] In the present, all of Ruth Nichols’ photographs have passed into the public domain. Under a copyright law provision from 1978, creators of works from before 1976 were given control until 2003, regardless of the exact date the work was created  Jeremy Rowe, “COPYRIGHTS AND OTHER RIGHTS IN PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES.” COPYRIGHTS AND OTHER RIGHTS IN PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES. 2002. Accessed March 15, 2016.