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James H. Scheuer Photographs

Identifier: SFHL-PA-080

Scope and Contents

This collection is primarily comprised of photographs taken to document Scheuer's activities as a member of the House of Representaatives. A wide range of events over the course of Scheuer's adult life are illustrated here, including momentous occasions like meeting Pope John Paul II and talking with Menachem Begin. Most of the images are of more mundane events, taken to record Scheuer being an involved member of the community he represented. There are some family photographs and travel pictures as well.

The collection is arranged in five series: (A) Black and white contact sheets and prints, (B) Color contact sheets and prints, (C) Negatives, (D) Slides, and (E) Mounted and matted prints.

Series A and B, were divided in a similar manner: photographs of James Scheuer alone (A1 and B1), the Scheuer family (A2 and B2), Scheuer with famous people (A3 and B3), and more generic photographs of people, places, and events (A4 and B4). Most of the people in subseries four are not identified but there are some photographs of well-known figures in this series. There is a gap in the image numbers in series A4 because the numbers 3100-3999 were never assigned.

The Black and White series (A) has two additional sub-series, for the photographs of Walter Karling (A5) and for a bound album documenting the Sri Lanka Visit of the U.S. Congressional Delegation in 1979 (A6). Karling was the only one of the several photographers Scheuer employed who had an execellant organizational scheme of his own. Most of his contact sheets are numbered, identified, and labeled, unlike much of the rest of the collection. Within the sub-series, no effort has been made to arrange the photographs in chronological order, in part because so few images are dated.

Series C, the negatives, were dividied into four sub-series. The first two sub-series are for negatives with corresponding contact sheets and/or prints: Black and White (C1) and Color (C2). Negatives without contact sheets and prints were given separate sub-series: Black and White (C3) and Color (C4).

Series D is a small series of color slides with no sub-series. These include a slide presentation of about the federal budget, images of Israel and Lebanon, and Scheuer at the 1968 Demoncratic Convention.

Series E, divided into black and white (E1) and color (E2) prints, includes many oversized photographs. Many of the prints are either matted or pasted onto board. This series features imaged of Scheuer with famous people and most used to hang in Scheuer's office.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research use.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Archives staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to reproduce images must be submitted to the Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

James H. Scheuer was born February 6, 1920, in New York City, the son of Simon H. and Helen Rose Scheuer. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1942. He continued his education at Harvard University' s Graduate School of Business Administration, earning a degree in Industrial Relations in 1943 and then received his L.L.B. degree from Columbia University Law School in 1948. He married Emily Malino, an accomplished interior designer, in 1948, and they had four children: Laura Lee (Swarthmore '73), Elizabeth Helen (Swarthmore '75), James Jr., and John William.

Scheuer had a wide range of interests and talents. He was the New York City harmonica champion as a young man, and throughout his career he continued to entertain and impress his constituency and his peers with his ability to play anything from Bach to Sousa marches. In 1943-45, he served as a flight instructor in the U.S. Army. He followed that with a job as an economist for the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration in the critical postwar years. Then came stints as a member of the legal staff for the Office of Price Stabilization (1951-53) and as president of the Citizen's Housing and Planning Council of New York City (1972-74). Scheuer also wrote a book, To Walk the Streets Safely, published by Doubleday in 1969.

Serving as a Congressman ensured Scheuer the varied, challenging career that seemed to suit him best. Scheuer was first elected to the 89th Congress in November 1964 and was reelected most years through the 102nd Congress, when he retired from the House. He faced his stiffest opposition in his unsuccessful bid for a seat in the 93rd Congress, and he was periodically challenged by redistricting maneuvers that altered the groups of people he was to represent. A solution was to switch districts before the districts were switched. At different times, Scheuer represented the 21st Congressional District, the 11th (Brooklyn-Queens) and the 8th (Queens-Bronx-Nassau County).

Evidence of Scheuer's deep concern for the world's people and environment is apparent throughout the collection. At the national level, he introduced bills such as the Maternal and Child Health Bill (H.R. 14822) and proposed amendments to the National Electric Vehicle Act (H.R. 1538) and held hearings on teenage pregnancy. Scheuer also operated at the global level, participating in international organizations and committees, including the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Global Committee of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, and the Global Survival Conference. His contribution as founding President of the United States arm of the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) is particularly well-documented in this collection.

Scheuer retired from the House in 1992 and then accepted a post as United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) shortly thereafter. After a stint in London serving that office, he retired, and he and his wife returned to Washington, D.C. James Scheuer died August 30, 2005.


7 linear ft. (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



Photographs of Representative James H. Scheuer, Class of 1942, his family, associates, and constituents. As a Member of Congress, Scheuer met many famous people and many ordinary people and took care to document these meetings. The result is thousands of contact sheets, prints, and negatives recording everything from high level meetings with world leaders to discussions on the street with district residents. This collection complements the papers Sheuer donated at the same time.


The collection is organized into series by photographic type, and within type of photograph, some series are further organized by topic.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: James H. Scheuer in December 1997. Accession number SCA 97-044.

Separated Materials

This collection was separated from the James H. Scheuer papers, RG6/R3/001.

Processing Information

Processed by Rachel K. Onuf. The original order of the Scheuer Photographs has not been preserved. Many contact sheets had been separated from the corresponding negatives and prints. Related materials were reunited to the best of the processor's abilities. The photographic materials are arranged into series by photographic type. Blank frames in contact sheets and negative strips were not assigned image numbers. There were many duplicate prints, which were removed from the collection.

Jissel Becerra Reyes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

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