Collection Ross MSS - John Gordon Ross Photographs Collection

Identity area

Reference code

Ross MSS


John Gordon Ross Photographs Collection


  • 1960s-1990s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

21 boxes and 1 parcel

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

American photographer. Born, New York 1920. Died, Oxford 2006. Studied at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. He was a ship's communication officer in the US Merchant Navy during WWII. After the war he worked as a navigator for TWA airlines, and worked on the route which included Cairo. It was here that he came in contact with professional photographers which inspired him to hone his own skills and eventually led to a career in free-lance photography. His commercial work incorporated his own varied interests, and is especially noted for his images of Egypt, its people, culture and ancient monuments. He worked for Chicago House in Egypt as well as several American museums with major Ancient Egyptian collections. He also had his own London based photography agency called <i>The John Ross Photographic Archive</i>.

Archival history

Formerly part of <i>The John Ross Photographic Archive</i>.
Two colour transparencies formerly in the possession of Mr Geoffrey Killen, who received them from John G. Ross himself.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated to the Griffith Institute by his former wife Mrs Judy Ross in 2007.
Two additional colour transparencies donated by Mr Geoffrey Killen in April 2016.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Slides, colour transparencies, 35 mm black & white and colour film negatives, variously sized black & white negatives, black & white and colour photographs, 19th Century photographs, antique and modern postcards, and project folders containing working notes, photocopies and correspondence.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Kept as received.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Property of the Griffith Institute. No restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright Griffith Institute, Oxford.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

No problems.

Finding aids

No full catalogue. Online catalogue continually updated.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

These are originals.

Existence and location of copies

Not known.

Related units of description

Not known.

Related descriptions

Publication note

  • Photographs included in many Egyptological publications, most notably: N. Jenkins, <i>The Boat Beneath the Pyramid: King Cheops’ Royal Ship</i> (London, 1980); W. H. Peck, <i>Drawings from Ancient Egypt</i> (London, 1978); and P. Jordan, </i>Riddles of the Sphinx</i> (Stroud, 1998).
  • See also partial web publication ‘Photographs of Egypt by John Ross’ ( and on the tomb of Tutankhamun).

Notes area


The Griffith Institute does not house any non-Egyptologial photographs taken by John Ross, these images may be registered with photographic agencies. The Griffith Institute is not able to provide any further information on this material, supply agency contact details or forward any requests on behalf of a Third Party.

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: 0513-0514