Bonnie Burt Photography Collection

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Bonnie Burt Photography Collection


  • 1980 - 1984 (Creation)


3 boxes; 1 linear foot

Name of creator

Biographical history

Bonnie Burt is a filmmaker and photographer known for documenting various aspects of Jewish life throughout the world. Some of her films include Song of a Jewish Cowboy, Abraham and Eugenia: Stories from Jewish Cuba, and Trees Cry for Rain: A Sephardic Journey. In 1984, Bonnie began visiting her retired grandparents in Miami Beach, Florida. While there, she documented the vibrant and independent lives of elderly Jewish residents, the neighborhoods they resided in, the shops, beaches, and activities they frequented. Most of the retirees in Miami Beach at the time were from the northeast seeking to live out their golden years in the sun. According to Burt, “There was a loose knit informal community which formed at the hotels and at the beaches based on shared life experiences. Being together was a source of comfort, support and camaraderie for those living on South Beach, far from their families. Despite the many challenges of aging, there was also a joie de vivre, an enjoyment of life, in this group of elderly Jews who once lived on South Beach.” Selects from this project are showcased in her photography books, God's Waiting Room and South Beach Remembered.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection captures the lives of Jewish retirees in Miami Beach in the 1980s through color and black & white photographs. It includes leisure activities such as dancing, singing, exercising, and sunbathing. Burt depicts Jewish culture throughout the city including synagogues, restaurants, shops and the Passover holiday. Her collection includes various apartments, condominiums and hotels, many of which were built in the iconic art deco and streamline modern styles. Her work seeks to portray demographic change, such as the shift in everyday language from Yiddish to Spanish which can be seen in the storefronts and street signage. She also captures the slow decaying of buildings in a time when historic preservation efforts had yet to go into effect.

System of arrangement

The collection includes 37 sheets of original color slides and 11 sheets of black & white negatives. Materials are arranged by subject and format. All print images have a coding system on the back which denotes to which slide or negative sheet they correspond. The collection includes two booklets of selects. The collection also includes two thumb drives of color and black & white digitized images. Original order by Bonnie Burt.

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Conditions governing access

The collection is open for research.

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Languages of the material

  • English

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    Finding aids

    Acquisition and appraisal elements

    Custodial history

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Gift of Bonnie Burt, 2023

    Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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    Notes element

    General note

    Accession number: 2023-210

    General note

    For more on Bonnie Burt's works:

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    Archivist's note

    Finding aid written by Ashley Trujillo and Jeremy Salloum

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