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My Uncle, Tony Spina was born in Detroit and is a graduate of the Detroit Institute of Technology. He was the chief photographer of the Detroit Free Press and special assistant to the managing editor. During his 44 years at the Free Press, Spina received more than 450 state, national and international awards for his photography. The impressive list includes the Sprague Memorial Award from the National Press Photographers Association. He also shared a Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Free Press in 1968 for its coverage of the Detroit riots.

Spina was also the author of a weekly photo column, which appeared in the Free Press and more than 200 other newspapers. His assignments have included photographing eight U.S. presidents and four popes. He is known for his unique faculty to combine art and a strong sense of journalism in his photographs. His pictures have been displayed in more than 80 exhibitions. In 1964, 100 of Spina’s photographs of the Vatican were exhibited worldwide. A leader not only to his profession, but to the entire industry, Spina was the first photojournalist to be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. David Lawrence, Jr., publisher and chairman of the Detroit Free Press, commented: “More than anything else, the easy measure of Tony’s contributions can be taken by the awards presented him by his peers.”

Spina was the first journalist to be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame (see page).

More Information:

Walter P. Reuther Library Tony Spina Collection at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

My uncle has a permanent photography display at the Walter P. Reuther Library on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  Here is located all of his photo negatives, prints, and personal items.  Prints may be purchased through the library as well.  Please visit their web site for more information:



spinaThe Tony Spina Enrichment Fund was created in 2002 to support the field of photojournalism in celebration of the life and work of Tony Spina (1914-1995).
As Chief Photographer for the Detroit Free Press, Spina’s talents were recognized with more than 450 national and international honors and awards, including the Sprague Memorial Award, the highest honor of the National Press Photographer’s Association.

Knighted by Pope Paul VI into the order of St. Gregory the Great, Sir Anthony became the only photojournalist in history to ever receive this distinction. Credited with 80+ one-person exhibitions, six published books and a nationally syndicated column, Spina shared his talents broadly. The Tony Spina Collection is housed at the Walter Reuther Library in Detroit.
The initial purpose of the Fund is to give scholarship awards in the name of Tony Spina for talented, dedicated, financially needy students who have declared a college major in photojournalism.

For information on contributing to the Fund or applying for a Spina Scholarship, contact the Southfield Community Foundation at 248-351-1320.


Katheryn Spina Giles
Terrence Ray Giles
Sharon Gioia
Theodore W. Kilar, MD
David Lawrence, Jr.
Heath J. Meriwether

David Robinson
Neal Shine
Mrs. Tony Spina
Costan Anthony Spina
Julia Spina-Kilar
Linda Ward Spina

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