Skip to main content

Warren Brunner photography collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: BCA 0167 SAA 169

Scope and Contents

This collection contains over 45,500 images (dated from 1953) of Warren Brunner’s work. Included in the collection are photographic prints, negatives, and slides of various size. Although the specific subjects and content of the photographs within the collection vary, the overarching subject of the collection is Appalachia and its people. The collection also contains literature and other supporting documents such as calendars, pamphlets, interviews, and surveys documenting Warren Brunner's work and career.


  • created: 1953 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College. Select digitized photographs available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital images may be used for personal or classroom use, without prior written permission, provided that the images are not altered in any way.  The source of the image must be identified as Berea College Special Collections and Archives (see preferred citation below). All other uses, except those that may be permitted by law, shall require prior written permission from the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.


99.00 boxes_(general) (Containers of varying sizes)

33 Cubic Feet (Containers of varying sizes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains over 45,500 images/photographs (dated from 1953) of Warren Brunner’s work.


The series is arranged in nined series: Series 1: Berea College and Community

Series 2: War on Poverty

Series 3: Mountain Churches

Series 4: Mill Creek

Series 5: Marie Cirillo “In Our Own Way”

Series 6: Save the Children

Series 7: Kentucky Craft Guild

Series 8: Identifying Family Strengths in Appalachia

Series 9: Literature, Supporting Documents, and Interview

Source of Acquisition

Warren Brunner

Appraisal Information

When possible, duplicate material was removed from the collection.  However, in many instances, both negatives and prints (often of various sizes) of the same image are included in the collection.

Acidic folders, envelopes, sleeves and boxes were replaced with acid-free enclosures.

Some images showing signs of deterioration and severe damage, making the images unusable, were removed from the collection during accessioning and processing.  If possible, damaged materials and dry-mounted photographs were digitized.  Recognizable copy work was deaccessioned and not included in the collection.


Warren Brunner (1928 -   ) is a professional photographer known for his portraits of the Appalachian people and region. A native of Wisconsin, Brunner took his first photography job at age sixteen with the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, leading to an apprenticeship with a Master Photographer and studies at the Winona Institute of Photography in Indiana. Brunner moved to Berea in 1954 to operate a photography studio owned by Mrs. Mattson, which he then took ownership of in 1960.  Brunner has lived and worked in Berea ever since, dividing his time between the family photography studio and his travels documenting life in the farther Appalachian region. Brunner’s wife Patricia “Pat” Parker Brunner, an artist and native of Western North Carolina, accompanied him on his travels and the couple approach photography as a team effort.

Warren Brunner is best known for his 1960s photographs documenting the War on Poverty and the work of Appalachian Volunteers, which have been published in TIME Magazine and displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. Known for the cultural sensitivity reflected in his photographs and his personal commitment to the Appalachian people, Brunner has worked with over thirty government and nonprofit agencies, including the Save the Children Federation, Christian Appalachian Project, Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Appalachia Science In The Public Interest, the Hindman Settlement School, the Council of Southern Mountains, the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, the Sierra Club, and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth.

Brunner has collaborated with numerous Appalachian scholars and activists including Al Fritsch, Deborah Vansau McCauley, Marie Cirillo, Cratis Williams, Gurney Norman, Bob Gates, Loyal Jones and Tom Boyd.  Warren Brunner is the recipient of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Appalachian author James Still wrote that "Brunner has helped Appalachia see and remember itself.”

As of 2023, Warren Brunner still lives in Berea and continues to organize his collection of photos for publications and posterity.

Other Descriptive Information

All photographs have unique identifiers. Indentifiers ending in:

N indicate negative

P indicate print

S indicate slide

C indicate cassette tape recording

Collection Number: BCA 0167 SAA 169

Processing Information

The collection came to the Berea College Special Collections and Archives (SCA) in four separate parts from August 2000 to January 2013. The photographs and records were roughly arranged upon arrival to SCA. During processing, original order was preserved when possible and the photographs and records and were processed into nine series.

Warren Brunner photography collection Finding Aid
Lori Myers-Steele
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US