Robert Simonsen Photograph Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

Level of description



Robert Simonsen Photograph Collection


  • 1955-2016 (Creation)


40.00 Boxes

Post-Fire Oversize Extent:
Box 25 (16.5 x 20.5): 509S: 19/2/2

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in 1945, Robert Simonsen is a life long resident of Kansas. He received an undergraduate degree in history/political science from Washburn University in 1976.

Simonsen joined the U.S. Army in 1966 and achieved the rank of Seargent-Major in the medical field. He retired after 31 years of combined active and reserve service.

Since elementary school, collecting photographs autographed by political leaders in the United States has been an avocation of Simonsen's. While serving in Vietnam in 1969-70, he began collecting in earnest and expanded his focus to include political and military figures from the United States and countries throughout the world. The collection contains over 7,500 portrait photographs signed by political and military leaders from approximately 75 countries, including the United States.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Robert Simonsen Photograph Collection contains autographed photographs divided into 4 series: U. S. Political, U. S. Military, U. S. Protectorates, and International Leaders. The collection is split fairly evenly between the United States and International photographs, with the majority of the U. S. photographs residing in the Political series. Many of the autographs include an inscription and/or an accompanying letter. Unidentified individuals are first within each section.
The United States Political series is divided into three subseries: States, Ambassadors, and Federal Agencies. The States are arranged alphabetically with the individuals sorted alphabetically by name under their political division: House of Representatives, Senate, and State Officials. This is followed by United States Ambassadors arranged alphabetically within various year ranges, and United States Federal Agencies sorted alphabetically by specific department then arranged alphabetically by name.
The United States Military series is divided into four subseries by branch: Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines. Within each branch the names are alphabetized under rank. Some ranks are entered multiple times under various year ranges.
The photographs in the United States Protectorates series are alphabetized under the specific place: Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Trust Territory of the Pacific, Guam, and Marshall Islands.
The International Leaders series is sorted alphabetically by country. Some countries have all the individuals sorted alphabetically within a single grouping, while other countries will further divide the photographs into political and military subgroups. For example, the photographs for Argentina are all grouped together, while Australia is broken into 14 subgroups.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged into 4 series: 1) United States Political, 1955-1990; 2) United States Military, 1956-1993; 3) United States Protectorates, 1959-1990; and 4) International Leaders: Political and Military, 1968-1991.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restriction:  All materials open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

    Language and script notes

    Acquisition and appraisal elements

    Custodial history

    This collection received three (3) accession numbers:

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Acqusition Source: Robert Simonsen
    Acqusition Method: Donation
    Acqusition Date: 19930601

    Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


    Boxes 36-40 received in 2017

    Related materials elements

    Existence and location of originals

    Existence and location of copies

    Related archival materials

    Related descriptions

    General note

    See disaster recovery note in accession record P2005.20.

    Specialized notes

    • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Robert Simonsen Photograph Collection, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

    Alternative identifier(s)

    Archon Collection ID


    Description control element

    Rules or conventions

    Describing Archives: A Content Standard

    Sources used

    Archivist's note

    Processing Info: This collection was processed by several individuals over the years.
    Publication Date: 2017-02-21

    Access points

    Subject access points

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    Name access points

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    Accession area