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About This Project

About this Archives Box


This box of negatives from the New York Times photo archive is one of a series that contains photographs by George Tames. Tames photographed for the NYT Washington Bureau and the Sunday Department from 1945-1985. This box contains 1161 medium and large format negatives from 1945-1948. The negatives are organized in envelope “sacks” that denote the job identification number (which is how the NYT organizes their photographs), the date of the job, and a caption. Some sacks also contain paper inserts with captions or other contextual information about the negatives. This additional caption information can be found under "Other Media" in some of the image records. 

Sack Information

Each group of items in the digital collections represents a selection of negatives from one sack, which is described by the original sack title. Because of time constraints, we chose to digitize only one or two images per sack. Sometimes, the sack title includes descriptions of multiple images, but only one image was digitized. The images you see on this site are only a sample of the negatives within this box.

About this Project

This website is the final project of Professor Anthony Cocciolo’s LIS 665: Projects in Digital Archives at Pratt Institute School of Information. Over the course of spring semester 2018 we selectively digitized the New York Times George Tames photographic negatives collection, created metadata, made this Omeka public interface, and researched and curated historical content.


Curatorial: Mary Broaddus, Kevina Tidwell, Meg Edison

Tech & Design: Ryan Marino, Leah Constantine, Alexandra DiFiglia, Natalie Moore

Digitization: Willamae Boling, Marcella Tam, Alexander Vastola, Jacqueline Black, ChinMi

Metadata: Paige Williams, Micaela Walker, Drew Facklam, Maria Santiago, Cormac Fitzgerald








All the digitized negatives are copyrighted material of the New York Times.

About the New York Times Photo Archive

The New York Times started collecting material for their archives in 1896. David Dunlap estimates that the Times houses about 5-6 million prints and contact sheets, 300,000 sacks of negatives, and 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 GB of images. He helps run the New York Times Tumblr blog called “The Lively Morgue,” which posts images from the NYT archive. The archive is so extensive that if they “posted 10 new archival pictures every weekday on Tumblr, just from our print collection, we wouldn’t have the whole thing online until the year 3935.”

Why the Lively Morgue? Newspaper clippings files are historically called “morgues,” possibly due to writers using them to gather information for obituaries. The New York Times still has their extensive clippings archive of articles clipped out of the newspaper and organized into filing cabinets. The clippings are filed by person and other subject areas for easy access to information, and the morgue was a great tool for Times employees to do quick research before the internet. Jeff Roth is now the sole manager of the Times’ morgue and still finds interesting “nuggets that no one else has found” since they were filed amongst the clippings and photographs as long as 120 years ago.

The lively morgue has a lively history. Before digital files took over, there were as many as two dozen clippers, filers, indexers and counter-clerks working in the NYT morgue at one time. When the Titanic sunk in 1912, journalists and morgue workers used the files to create a detailed story on the people, ship, and its place in disaster history before any other paper.

The digitized images on this site are a very small part of the negative archives, which are housed separately from the morgue clippings files. However, they all make up the interesting and vast archives of the New York Times.


 Photo by Micaela Walker


Sources/Further Reading

Bennett, Jessica. (2012). Inside the New York Times’ Photo Morgue, A Possible New Life for Print. WNYC News. Retrieved from https://www.wnyc.org/story/206643-wnyc-tumblr/

Calderone, Michael. (2007 May 23) The Times Morgue Packs Up and Ships Out. The Observer. Retrieved from http://observer.com/2007/05/ithe-timesi-morgue-packs-up-and-ships-out/

Dunlap, Davis W. (n.d.) A Treasure House of Photographs. The Lively Morgue. Retrieved from http://livelymorgue.tumblr.com/about

Hiltner, Stephen. (2017 April 14). Cultivating Serendipity: A Visit to the New York Times ‘Morgue.’ The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/insider/in-the-timess-morgue-millions-of-news-clippings-and-prints.html

O'Neill, Claire. (2012 June 7). What Lies Beneath The New York Times? A Lively Morgue And Its Lonely Keeper. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/sections/pictureshow/2012/06/07/152704170/what-lies-beneath-the-new-york-times-a-lively-morgue-and-its-lonely-keeper