Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr

"Californians, this is the time for us to do our utmost for the University because it has done its utmost for us," said Chief Justice Earl Warren at the April 1967 convocation at Berkeley. And what a time it was - on the heels of the Free Speech Movement in 1964, the Vietnam Day marches in 1965, an escalation of antiwar protests in 1966, and, in January of 1967, the dramatic dismissal of UC President Clark Kerr by the Board of Regents under the presidency of Governor Ronald Reagan. The following year, 1968, the University of California would celebrate its hundredth year.

Warren's remarks were published in the special centennial book, Fiat Lux: The University of California, created by photographer Ansel Adams, writer Nancy Newhall, and bookmaker Adrian Wilson. For three years, Adams and Newhall toured the state, visiting nine campuses and dozens of the UC's scientific field stations, reserves, observatories, and agricultural outposts.

Fiat Lux was intended not as a document of the university as it was, but rather a portrait of the university as it would be. Kerr asked the artists to project through words and photographs, as far as possible, "the next hundred years" impossible, of course, but a provocative invitation that the artists embraced. The Fiat Lux project was a massive endeavor, producing 605 fine prints and over 6,700 negatives, far more than the 1,000 images stipulated in Adams's contract. After Adams's lifetime devotion to Yosemite, Fiat Lux was probably the biggest single project of his life.

All descriptions are adapted from Fiat Lux: The University of California by Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall
Designed by Adrian Wilson
New York, McGraw-Hill [1967]
A Centennial publication of the University of California

Welcome to the Fiat Lux Redux Exhibit.


University Archives and The Bancroft Library