Collection C0121 - Willi Ruge Collection

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Identity area

Reference code



Willi Ruge Collection


  • 1930-1945 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

122 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Willi Ruge was a German photojournalist who began his career in photography in 1910. Between the wars he worked mainly for Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. He was known for taking spectacularly composed pictures from parachutes, or from aircraft performing aerobatics or in combat. He was a photographer for the Luftwaffe in world war two and after 1945 worked with magazines like Weltbild and Quick. His archive in Berlin was destroyed in 1943.

Archival history

The photographs in this collection were discovered by Pte. John A. MacGillivray, a private who served with the 86th Bridge Company, R.C.A.S.C, in a bombed out building in Germany in 1945. He delivered them to the appropriate intelligence officer and was later surprised to have them returned to him minus “the beautiful” album in which they had been found. On his return home, McGillivray stored the photos in an Eaton’s catalogue for 30 years and then transferred them to a binder with protective sleeves. The family donated the collection of photographs on October 31, 2013. The family dedicated the donation to “the men and their families of the 86th Bridge Company, R.C.A.S.C."

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received from donor October 2013.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of 122 black and white photographs with a subject range that covers the Spanish Civil War, the German Air Force, the German invasion of Poland, and the war in Italy. Photos 1-46 are 8x10. Subsequent photos are 5x7.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Archival materials do not circulate and must be consulted in the TMM Library and Archives Reading Room. Duplication of materials in the collection may be subject to copyright and other restrictions. Please contact TMM Library and Archives staff for guidance on reproduction.

Language of material

  • German

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Item level description of the photographs is available upon request.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Photographs of Willi Ruge are held in several archives in Germany, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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