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Duke D'Ambra photograph collection

Call Number: RH PH 69


This collection consists of approximately 1,500 prints and 2,285 negatives of the photographic work of Duke D'Ambra. The photographic images include scenes of 50 years of life in Lawrence, Kansas from the 1920s to the 1970s. D'Ambra photographed buildings, businesses, residents at work and at play, and their homes. He captured the effect of dust storms in the 1930s, the floods of the 1950s, and war on the community. He also documented a growing Haskell Indian Institute.


  • Creation: approximately 1920s-1970s


Conditions Governing Access

Glass plate and flexible negative originals are only issued if the curator or head of Public Services gives permission.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Duke D'Ambra

Alessio P. (Duke) D'Ambra was born in December 1890 on the Isle of Ischia in Italy. He came to the United States in 1905 and grew up in Philadelphia. During World War I, he enlisted in the Army and served in the Philippines. It was during his services that he developed an interest in photography. In 1921 he was invited by the University of Kansas (KU) to join the staff of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. He continued to photograph his surroundings, including student life and activities on campus. In 1925, he decided to resign from the Army to begin a career as a freelance photojournalist, opening his own photography studio in Lawrence. D'Ambra sold photographs to nationwide news services and newspapers such as the Kansas City Star and the New York Times. Greatly interested in sports photography, he often photographed KU sporting events and players. He died in 1972.


21.25 Linear Feet (approximately 21.25 linear feet (43 boxes of prints and negatives))

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH PH 69

Other Finding Aids

For detailed collection description and listing, see ksrl.kc.dukedambra.pdf.

Guide to the Duke D'Ambra Collection
Duke D'Ambra photograph collection
Finding aid encoded by rw, 2008. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Duke D'Ambra photograph collection, RH PH 69, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States