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Jane Bernard and Polly P. Brown Route 66 Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-2014-005

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises of photographic prints, slides, color negative, black and white negatives, contact sheets, recorded interviews, interview transcriptions (written and typed by the creators), and various Route 66 ephemera.

Series 1 contains three boxes of large photographic prints produced for exhibition purposes. They range from 11 x 14”, 16 x 24”, and 20 x 28”. Box 1 comprises of 36 11 x 14” exhibition prints, divided by state and arranged in latitudinal order of cities (east-west). Box 2 contains 28 20 x 28” prints, divided by state, and 2 uncut 11 x 14” prints. Within Box 3, there are three 20 x 28” foam core and matted exhibition prints and a folder containing two copies of the promotional posters for “Route 66: Life Along the Mother Road” exhibition at the Museum of New Mexico (year?). All exhibition prints are labeled and signed by the photographers.

Series 2 contains four boxes of slide carousels, contact sheets, and working prints from Jane Bernard and Polly Brown. Box 1 has eight folders of color photo slides from Jane Bernard, organized by state. Box 2 contains one folder of color slides and one black and white contact sheet folder from Polly Brown, one folder of black and white contact sheets from Jane Bernard. Box 2 also contains three working prints (color, black and white) from Bernard and Brown. Box 3 contains seven folders of color slide carousels from Polly Brown. Box 4 contains a three-ring binder complete with black and white contact sheets and negatives, primarily portraits.

Series 3 contains one box of collected Route 66 visual ephemera and proofs for Bernard and Brown’s photobook: “American Route 66: Home on the Road”. The visual ephemera is divided into eight folders, by state, and includes postcards, commercial business flyers, maps, tourist guidebooks, pamphlets, and informational flyers for niche landmarks. There are two book proofs that are divided by content (Illinois to Oklahoma, Texas to California). Along with the proofs, there is a folder of color LaserJet prints of all photographs selected for publishing.

Series 4 contains two boxes (the transcribed interviews are currently housed with Series 3 contents) of interview transcripts and cassette tapes. Box 1 has 24 cassette tapes, comprising interviews with residents all along Route 66 from Illinois to California. Jane Bernard included a CD with .doc file transcripts of the interviews selected and edited for print. In Box 2, there are handwritten transcripts and notes taken by Bernard and Brown on yellow legal pads. These documents are unlabeled and not in any order.


  • The timeframe noted (2000-2004) is approximated from written dates on photographs throughout the collection. The exact dates of the photographs are unknown. The later dates (2002-2004) encompass the book materials and certain prints.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Jane Bernard and Polly Brown met at the Grand Canyon (Arizona) while Bernard was working as a trail guide, after her time spent photographing the canyon for the 1989-1995 centennial geological survey (see: Grand Canyon: A Century of Change). They quickly became close friends, bonding through their shared passion for photography. Bernard spent six months as a photojournalist in Estonia after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which she stated made her “triply grateful to be an American”. She found herself fascinated by the comparatively “fast life” out West and noticed how capitalism both invigorated and destroyed communities in this effort towards maximum global efficiency. When she returned home to Flagstaff, AZ, Bernard called her friend Polly Brown to propose a project on small town America, specifically those communities along Historic Route 66. The two women spent three years back and forth on the Mother Road, compiling visual data (portraits, roadside photography, and visual ephemera) and oral histories of life on the historic road.

Jane Bernard is a documentary, editorial and commercial photographer whose work has been published worldwide. She lives in Santa Fe, NM. Bernard was a member of the prestigious Black Star Agency in New York City and has worked as a staff photographer for the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe Reporter. Her awards include a Kodak Equipment Grant and a New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Bernard was also a winner of the Project Earth Competition from Center for the Visual Arts. Her photography is environmentally focused, with the intention to help preserve regions and cultural memory.

Polly Brown (1941-2016) was a photojournalist who resided in Santa Fe, NM to the time of her passing. She grew up in Long Island, NY and enrolled at the New York School of Photography in her late twenties. Brown was associate professor of photography at the Art Institute of Boston for nine years and taught at the International Center of Photography in New York and at the University of Hawaii. She moved to New Mexico in 1995, wherein she taught photography at the Santa Fe College of Art. Her work has been exhibited worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Fogg Museum, the Rose Museum, Polaroid Corporation, among many.


3.5 Cubic Feet (9 boxes of varying size.)

Language of Materials



The Polly Brown and Jane Bernard Route 66 Pictorial Collection is comprised of visual, textual, and sonic material collected for the photobook, “Route 66: Life Along the Mother Road” (pub. Museum of New Mexico Press, 2004). The photographs include portraiture and roadside architecture from Illinois to California. There is extensive recorded and written interview documentation of the subjects Brown and Bernard encountered and photographed for their publication.

The collection is divided into four series: exhibition print photographs (1), photographic slides (2), “American Route 66: Home on the Road” research materials and proofs (3), and interview materials (4).
Finding Aid of the Jane Bernard and Polly P. Brown Route 66 Pictorial Collection
Madison Garay
March 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131