Robert Palmer Collection

Robert Franklin Palmer (1945-1997) was a complex and multi-faceted individual which is reflected in his collection of photography. Palmer grew up in Arkansas and was drawn to creative modes of expression from an early age. He became an accomplished clarinetist, forming the Insect Trust in the 1960s and performing with many notable jazz and blues musicians such as Ornette Coleman.

In addition to his musical abilities, Palmer was also a talented writer and critic, working for Rolling Stone and later the New York times.  He is the author of the celebrated monographs Deep Blues and Rock and Roll: An Unruly History among other works.

Palmer’s unique ability to relate to varied cultures through music enabled him a rare full spectrum of involvement in the music world from working with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Morocco to producing Blues musicians from Mississippi.

Palmer’s collection documents not only his fascinating life as an individual, but also serves as a window into the evolution of Rock and Roll in the 20th Century.