The Bob Mizer Foundation maintains one of the best collections in the United States of records documenting not only the history of physique photography, which is our primary mission, but also information on major events and legal cases that have shaped the twentieth century.




The Bob Mizer Foundation proudly houses one of the most exceptional collections in the United States, showcasing a vast array of records that not only document the captivating history of physique photography, our primary mission but also provide valuable insights into major events and influential legal cases that have shaped the course of the twentieth century.

With a deep commitment to preserving the richness of our heritage, the Foundation safeguards a diverse range of materials, including letters, diaries, photographs, and other records that shed light not only on Bob Mizer's remarkable journey but also that of his esteemed contemporaries.

At present, we are actively seeking to fill specific gaps in our collection. Specifically, we are on the lookout for anything directly related to Bob Mizer, such as customer letters and correspondence from the man himself. Additionally, we are eager to acquire materials and magazines that document the birth of male erotica prior to the 1970s, including advertisements for this captivating form of photography and the studios that brought it to life. Furthermore, our collection of sports and muscle magazines from the Victorian Era to the 1970s is an area we are actively looking to expand.

If you possess papers, documents, or miscellaneous items of historical significance that you would like to generously donate to our Archives, we would be thrilled to hear from you. As part of the process, we kindly request a legal transfer of ownership through our Deed of Gift form when accepting new collections into our Archives.

Please rest assured that any donated materials become invaluable additions to the permanent resources of the Foundation. Following their accession, they are made readily available to researchers both in-house and online, ensuring that they contribute to the continuous exploration and understanding of our collective history. For more information or to inquire about donating a collection, please reach out to us.

Let us come together to preserve and celebrate our shared heritage.


As we expand into our new location in the near future, we will be able to offer more and more access to our reference material.  At this time, some materials can be viewed in our original El Cerrito, California location, and all aspects of your visits must be worked out well in advance.

All collections are kept in closed stacks, to which only staff have access. Restricted materials are well labeled and are only made available to those with proper permission. Archivists are always available to assist researchers. This system allows us to ensure the safety of the collections and still maintain our reputation as one of the friendliest archives in the country.


When a person writes a letter or diary, he or she possesses rights to those words and the ideas they reflect comparable to the rights of an author who has just written a book. An organization may possess similar rights. Those rights extend only to the material the donor actually created. For example, if you are contemplating donating a collection consisting of carbon copies of letters you wrote to a friend and letters that friend wrote to you, you have copyright interest in your letters but not those of your friend. You may donate the physical property represented by both sets of letters because they are in your possession. You may also donate or withhold the copyright interest you have in your own letters.

This is the same with customer correspondence from Bob Mizer.

In most cases, the users of your letters will be scholars, and there will be little economic benefit to retaining copyright to a collection. Generally, the Bob Mizer Foundation asks a donor to donate both the physical property and any copyright interests the donor may have to the collection. Having clear title makes it easier for  staff to provide access and for scholars to use a collection. Nonetheless, should you choose to retain copyright interest, you may do so by using a standard paragraph written for that purpose.

That paragraph reads:

The donor retains copyright until _________________ (fill in with a specific day, month and year on which the restriction will terminate), at which time copyright and renewal rights to the donated materials are granted to the Society. The Society reserves the right at any time to microfilm or otherwise duplicate these materials as required for preservation or exhibition.


All donors are asked to sign a deed of gift. In most cases, the deed transfers to the Bob Mizer Foundation all rights the donor may possess to the collection. The deed provides space for a description of the donated material and space for a statement of restrictions on the collection.

The donor may restrict a collection. In some cases, a collection may contain historically important materials that are also sensitive. Although such situations are rare, the donor may wish to consider a restriction that temporarily limits access or closes the collection. Because our ultimate goal is to make information available for research use, restrictions require a specific sunset date when they will lapse.

The donor may retain copyright. On rare occasions the donor may possess copyright interests in a collection. This is best determined by consulting an attorney. If you do possess copyright interest, you may wish to retain such interest when you sign the deed of gift. Retention of copyright requires a specific sunset date when all retained rights will be transferred to the Foundation.

When you donate a collection an archivist will discuss the most appropriate method of transporting the collection to the Society. In many cases, the archivist will pack and transport the collection. When this is not possible, especially for collections donated from outside San Francisco, the archivist may want to make arrangements for using UPS or a commercial shipper to transport the collection.


Many organizations and personal donors pack and prepare records for shipment. If you have any questions about preparation of records for shipment, please contact the archivist with whom you are working.

Inventory: We would greatly appreciate a simple inventory. Without this inventory we (and researchers) will not know how your files were arranged and to what series a file or set of documents belong.

Shipping: Anything larger than a small box should be sent via UPS and UPS only.

Notification: Do not send anything larger than a small box without calling us first. This will ensure that we are prepared for its arrival. Please let us know at this time the general contents of the shipment.

Reimbursement: We generally ask donors to pay for shipping, which may be tax deductible. We will review all requests for reimbursement of shipping on a case by case basis.


Your first contact with our archivist may be the result of your desire to donate material, or because the archivist has identified you, your family, or your organization as having material of potential historical value. In either case, the archivist will begin by asking questions designed to gather information about you, your family, your organization or your business and about the records you may have. All of this information will help the archivist determine if the collection is appropriate for the Bob Mizer Foundation. Should you decide to donate a collection the information will also assist in organizing and cataloging the material.

When the archivist visits he/she will continue to gather information about the materials being considered for donation. We try to make on-site visits whenever possible so the archivist can inspect the collection. Any preparations you can make for the visit, such as preparing an inventory, will provide the archivist with valuable assistance. If the records are those of an organization, an inventory or filing guide is particularly useful to us.

The Foundation accepts donations as little as a single item and as large as dozens of boxes. Material need not be organized, old, nor related to a famous person or event. Generally, we are interested in a coherent body of material rather than individual items. Although the Foundation may not accept everything you offer we welcome the opportunity to review any relevant material.

When a collection arrives, we do the initial work necessary to make the collection accessible and to identify major conservation problems. This is called accessioning. If the records come with an inventory and are in good order, this is a relatively swift process. If the collection is in disarray or requires an inventory, one is created at this stage, and we identify conservation problems. As the final step in the accessioning process, we catalog the collection. Most accessioning is performed within six to twelve weeks of arrival, dependent upon size, extant organization and collection complexity. As soon as accessioning is complete, researchers may use the records in accordance with the deed of gift.

If the collection is in good order and a high quality inventory exists, little further work may be done on the collection. If the collection would benefit from better organization or requires special care before it can be used, it will be placed into the processing queue.


We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. If you wish to take a tax deduction for the value of the donation and/or for paying for shipping to the Bob Mizer Foundation, consult your accountant and/or tax attorney as soon as possible.

By federal law, the Society (like any archives) cannot give advice on these matters and cannot make appraisals. Archival appraisers are available in many major metropolitan areas.

The Society of American Archivists publishes a list of appraisers in its Directory of Consultants. It is available from them by writing to: SAA 600 S. Federal Suite 504 Chicago, IL 60605.

The relevant IRS publications are: Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property; Publication 526, Charitable Contributions; and Instructions for and Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions. The telephone number to request these publications and forms is 1-800-TAX-FORM.