Dr. John C. Trever was the first photographer of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In February and March of 1948, Dr. Trever photographed the scrolls from Cave 1, which had been purchased from Bedouin shepherds by Mar Athansius Samuel, a Syrian Orthodox archbishop.

Due to the imminent war following the United Nations' vote to partition Palestine, Dr. Trever could find only expired portrait film to take what are still considered the best photographs of Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1981, Dr. Trever gifted his extensive collection to the Claremont School of Theology, which in turn placed them in the Center's custodial care.