Last spring, Robin Rottier, a Mason psychology student and Preservation Assistant working in the library, donated a collection of thousands of slides, negatives, and prints taken by her father Jack Rottier. Jack Rottier worked as a photographer for the National Capital Region of the National Park Service from the early 1960s until he retired in 1975.
The collection consists of images from in and around Washington, DC with a decidedly naturalistic approach characteristic of Rottier, an avid outdoors-man. The focus of his work may seem to be the impressive architecture and what it stands for, but Rottier makes a point to give the natural surroundings equal weight within the composition. His work serves as a reminder of just how beautiful our city is; both in terms of architecture and greenery. There are many shots of monuments, parks, events on the Mall, and some stunning aerial shots of the metro area. He also photographed many important figures in Washington such as Richard and Pat Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson and some celebrities including Liz Taylor and Bob Hope.
Rottier came to the Washington area around 1950 and worked as a photographer for the American Forest Products Industries. He later joined the Commerce Department where he photographed trade fairs overseas, and then the Bureau of Land Management in the Interior Department, where he worked until transferring to the Park Service. Throughout his life Rottier was an active member of the C&O Canal Association. Over the course of his career with the Park Service he contributed to the photographic record of Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification program, the development of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna. He passed away in 1988.
We feel very fortunate to have received this collection and it has already become quite popular. WETA will be using several of Rottier’s Washington Senator’s images for the upcoming documentary on Washington in the 1970s set to air on February 22 at 9pm. The Rottier collection is also a nice companion to our Ollie Atkins and Charles Baptie collections, which heavily document the Washington area from the 1940s-1980s. Please take a look at the Jack Rottier Photograph Collection and look for new posts in the coming weeks to explore some of the particular events that Rottier captured.
Here are some images from the collection: