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City desk, New York World-Telegram & Sun newspaper, 1949, LC-USZ62-113838

New York World Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection

Prints and Photographs Division

Collection digitized? Generally, no. Selected images are included here to give a sample of the collection.

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The collection includes an estimated 1 million photographs that the New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper assembled between the 1890s and 1967 (chiefly 1920 to 1967), the year in which the newspaper closed. No original negatives are included in the collection. The collection is divided into two parts: 1) a biographical file which contains portraits and other images related to specific people (750,000 photographs in 300,000 folders), and 2) a subject/geographical file which contains images related to topical subjects and places (250,000 photographs in 50,000 folders). This newspaper photo morgue is typical of the files that newspapers maintain of images that either were published or were believed to have some future publication potential. Such files were periodically "weeded" by newspaper staff members. Much of the photography used by newspapers is "quick copy," and many images have been cropped, retouched, or highlighted for publication. Some images were taken by the newspaper's staff photographers while others came from wire press services, studios, or amateur photographers. The New York World-Telegram & Sun newspaper itself is not indexed, but it has been microfilmed and is available for use in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room of the Library (LM 133). The clipping file is no longer extant.


Access is through a multi-volume finding aid which lists the folder headings used by the NYWTS staff. The following information is helpful in using the finding aid. In general, if you don't find your topic under one heading, try synonyms, pseudonyms, and married names.

Biographical headings: The form and spelling of names are entered as they appear on the folders created by NYWTS staff. Rules of alphabetization used by NYWTS have been retained in this finding aid. In many cases, nicknames or other versions of a name are used. It would be helpful to browse a general part of the alphabet or to check the finding aid for all possible name versions and spellings to find the sitter you want. Members of royal families are generally listed under the name of the country they represented. For example, Princess Margaret is found under "England, Royal Family........Margaret, Princess."

Subject/Geographical headings: Headings used were devised by the New York World-Telegram & Sun staff and have few cross references. For example, subjects related to World War II are listed under "War -- European II -- ."

(empty), (clipping only), and (paper plate only): Parenthetical entries following the name entry have been added by Library of Congress staff to indicate that the folder contains no photographs. These entries represent a folder that is empty, a folder containing only a newspaper clipping, or a folder that contains only a printing plate or matrix, a paper mold used to print the newspaper image. "[...]" indicates the information available was unreadable.

Descriptive information: The descriptive information provided on the right hand side of the page (after the dots) is the information that was provided by NYWTS on the outside of the folders. It has not been edited, but, at times, headings that used abbreviations have been spelled out completely so they are more easily understood. Some entries include the description "Dead," used by the newspaper staff to indicate the subject is deceased, and this has been included since that is the information that was originally listed. Once a folder has been processed, a count of the contents is added in the right hand margin.

SEE: and SEE ALSO: references: SEE: and SEE ALSO: references are recorded from the outside of the folders. These references have not been verified, and many of the leads may not be fruitful. Do not assume that the folder is empty because there is a SEE: reference; the only empty folders are those with the parenthetical entry "(empty)."

Copy negative available: If a folder has one or more images with a copy negative, the finding aid entry is stamped: "Copy negative/s available". For more information about the images with copy negatives, please use the automated catalog.


Images copied by the Library's Duplication Services in response to patron requests are cataloged individually and can be searched in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. The catalog records include the note "New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection."


The collection is so large that it must be stored off site. Retrieval and necessary physical processing of requested materials will take more time than usual. A five-working-day turnaround time is needed for any requested material to be brought into the Library for viewing. Because of the special service requirements for the collection, a special call slip is used. Only 10 folder headings may be requested by a researcher at a time.


P&P staff has compiled notebooks of xeroxes of interesting images that were identified while preparing the finding aid. Although they do not by any means form a complete record of all notable images and people found in the collection, they do provide a sense of the general flavor of NYWTS, and they highlight some of the major personalities depicted in the collection.


Cropping, highlighting, retouching, and other marks on the photographs have been retained as part of the artifactual nature of the image. These marks may not be removed by staff or researchers and will not be removed for photography work.


Photographs taken by New York World-Telegram & Sun staff photographers are in the public domain and may be used without restriction. Images from wire press services, including Acme, Associated Press, Black Star, United Press International (as well as its predecessors Pacific & Atlantic, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Inc., International Newsreel, William H. Rau Collection, International News Photos, Acme News Photos, United Press Photos, and UPI), and Wide World may be copyrighted. If so, the images should be cleared before publishing or exhibiting. It is suggested that a copyright search be conducted. When images are reproduced in a publication, the Library requests that the reproduction number be published with the credit, as in the following example: "Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-104052."


Photographic prints or transparencies can be ordered directly from the Library of Congress, Duplication Services, Washington, D.C. 20540-5230. Order forms, price, and order instructions will be provided on request. Since the Library does not own original negatives for the images in this collection, photographic copies are made directly from the original images in cases where the image does not already bear a copy negative or copy transparency number (beginning LC-USZ..). If the original image must be photographed, it is highly advisable to retrieve the image in advance of placing a reproduction order, and set it aside in the Division's "Photoduplication Hold" so the image can be easily identified and located by the Library's copying service. If this is not possible, at a minimum a call number [example: BIOG--NORTON, KAY- ACTRESS] and a xerox of the front & back of the desired image is required so the lab can identify and locate the desired image.

Prepared by: Mary Ison, Head, Reference Section and Barbara Orbach Natanson, Reference Specialist, based on work by Marcy Silver, Cataloger, 9/8/94. Revised Nov. 18, 2002.

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  March 16, 2012
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