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Leonard Freed South African elections photography collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 655

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily represents 140 vintage photographic prints, printed in 1994 by Leonard Freed and signed by the photographer. The 140 prints represent prints chosen by Freed to print from his trip to South Africa in early 1994. The collection also includes two Magnum Photos prints from the same trip, and two Magnum Photos prints of a ticker tape parade held in NYC for Mandela's visit in 1990. Additional documentation in this collection includes material from an exhibition of thirty of these photographs, jointly on display with South African quilts from the MSU Museum, held in the LookOut Gallery of the Residential College for the Arts and Humanities at MSU from May to September 2019. The collection also includes the transcript of an oral history interview given by Justice Albie Sachs during a visit to MSU in Spring 2019, in which he went through the collection sharing his own memories of South Africa at the time.


  • Creation: 1990 - 1994


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

Leonard Freed (1929-2006) was an American documentary photojournalist and member of Magnum Photos. Most famous for his work, Black in White America, which documented the American Civil Rights Movement in 1964 and 1965, Freed traveled worldwide, documenting an array of important events. In 1994, Freed traveled to South Africa to photograph Nelson Mandela as he campaigned for president in the first free elections after the ending of the apartheid government. He traveled for approximately three weeks across South Africa, from late March to early April 1994.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into two series: photographs and related documentation. Within the series of photographs, there two sub-series: vintage prints and prints from the Magnum Photos collection. Related documentation is available in two folders housed with the photographs.


The photographs are arranged with the following numbering system: Year-Month-Story-Photograph Number. Each trip was divided into stories by Freed, with a varying number of photographs in each story.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Brigitte Freed in 2019.

Related Materials

This material is related to the oral history interview given by Justice Albie Sachs in Spring of 2019, which can be found here:

Processing Information

Jessica Martin processed this collection in 2019.

Finding Aid for the Leonard Freed South African elections photography collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Jessica Achberger Martin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA