Special Collections Photography Curator Appointed

April 5, 2018
Robert G Trujillo

Peter P. Blank appointed as Photography Curator for Special Collections with the Stanford Libraries.

The Department of Special Collections of Stanford Libraries has appointed Peter Blank as its first Photography Curator. He will begin his new assignment June 1, 2018. 

Stanford’s Special Collections is redefining its photography collection development program. To assist in moving this initiative forward, Special Collections sought an experienced, creative and effective curator to perform expert curatorial/bibliographic functions, collection development and management, public services, and related technical processing tasks. As Special Collections continues to build on its existing and significant holdings of historical and contemporary photography, Peter will work closely and collaboratively with the Stanford University community, especially with other Stanford Libraries’ curators and bibliographers and the staff of the Cantor Arts Center.

Peter has worked two terms with Stanford Libraries, first from 1993 to 1996 and more recently since 2005, serving in a variety of professional positions in the Art & Architecture Library, including Head Librarian. While Head Librarian he assisted with the design of the superb Uta and Bill Bowes Art & Architecture Library in Stanford’s new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed Burt & Deedee Art & Art History Building. During his eighteen years with Stanford Libraries, Peter has guided the development of an outstanding research collection for the study of photography, acquiring important monographs, exhibition catalogs, and journal titles, as well as a large and significant collection of rare and out of print photography books, limited edition titles with prints, photography portfolios (including a set of seven Rhode Island School of Design photography portfolios, one of which is pictured above), posters and related ephemera. Peter also served at The Art Institute of Chicago’s Ryerson & Burnham Libraries and the Robert Goldwater Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Peter received his B.A. from Indiana University in Fine Arts Studio (photography and sculpture), where he studied with Henry Holmes Smith and Reg Heron, his M.L.S. from Indiana University (specializing in art librarianship), an M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, City University of New York, and completed additional graduate work (ABD) in the Ph.D. program in Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in American photography. Peter has an extensive record of teaching, exhibition, and publication related to art history and photography and is professionally active with the Art Libraries Society of North America.

Stanford collections for the study and appreciation of modern photography in the Americas benefit not just Stanford research and instructional endeavors, but also an international audience through its active acquisition, exhibition, publication, and loan programs. The collections include literally thousands of prints by hundreds of artists, as well many photographic archive objects (negatives, contact sheets, manuscripts, other documentation, and photographer’s archives), oral history and other media materials, and related photographic materials.

A familiar figure in the Stanford Libraries, Peter has been a valued colleague to faculty and students in the Department of Art and Art History and across campus, as well as to the curators and professional staff of the Cantor Arts Center. He is not leaving these relationships behind, but rather will be working with them in this new role, from a new venue, and for a new collections initiative.


Roberto G. Trujillo

Assistant University Librarian and Director of Special Collections

April 5,  2018