In March, 2011, the family of photographer Rey Ruppel generously donated his extensive photo collection of over 10,000 photo prints and negatives to the Library’s California History Room and Archives. Rey (Reynold) Ruppel was a major photographer of the Monterey Peninsula in the 1940s through the mid-1960s.
Born in 1914, Ruppel developed an early love of photography and travel. As soon as he finished high school, he began to photograph his adventures and travels during the Great Depression, hitchhiking, driving, and jumping trains from Coast to Coast. Ruppel arrived in Monterey in 1935 where, within three years, he was working with Monterey panoramic photographer A. C. Heidrick, and fulfilling his dream of studying with an innovative photographer. Ruppel’s reputation as an accomplished photographer quickly grew as he documented our scenic land and seascapes, fishing industry, and celebrity and major events from Monterey to San Francisco. Besides Ruppel’s photographic legacy, the collection features many Heidrick original prints and negatives.
To process a photo collection of this magnitude requires an incalculable number of work hours. The project is well underway thanks to a team of highly skilled volunteers which includes Barbara Forbush, Joan Jeffers McCleary, and Chase Weaver. John Castagna is volunteering his time to scan the collection so that digital images will also be available. The Library is deeply grateful to our volunteers for undertaking this laborious project which will protect and make accessible this valuable local photographic collection and contribute immeasurably to the Library’s vital role in preserving our community memory. View the video.
For more information contact Museum, Cultural Arts and Archives Manager Dennis Copeland at (831) 646-3741 or email Copeland@monterey.org.