A Treasure House of Photographs
February 27, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

An archival photo from The New York Times shows news pictures being sorted in the newspaper’s photo “morgue,” which houses millions of images. Here they are — several each week — for you to see. Welcome to The Lively Morgue.

This Tumblr is brand new so not many photos have been posted yet, but keep checking back.

A note about back stories: to enhance the photos’ value as artifacts and research tools, they present an image of the reverse side of each print. In many cases, you’ll get to see how often the photo was used, in what context and at what size; the information provided by the photographer; and the information that made it into the published caption. An annotated reverse side of a photo from the morgue appears to the right of each photo, offering some clues about the kinds of notations you’ll see over and over again as you explore The Lively Morgue. [just click to "flip" the photo]

About The Lively Morgue
posted by netbros (7 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This looks like it will grow into an interesting little collection. Thanks for posting!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:25 PM on February 27, 2012

My father was an artist and also had a morgue. It was a file cabinet full of pictures of just about everything, used for reference.

This brings back memories. Thanks.

My favorite part of dad's morgue was, of course, the folder full of nudes.
posted by Splunge at 5:30 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

My first newspaper job was as an overnight desk clerk, tasked with gathering police reports and filing the weekly "this week in local history" column. I loved that. I got to sit in the morgue from midnight or so to 8 AM, paging through files and microfilms to find old gems to reproduce. Learned a lot about history that way.

This is bound to be good - thanks.
posted by Miko at 5:35 PM on February 27, 2012

Alex Wright visits the Morgue in 2009:

Here is a photo of an old page one meeting, compositor's rules, air raid drill instructions - and a long-lost set of photos of Jimi Hendrix playing at Woodstock, nearly lost to posterity due to a photographer's inept spelling: "Jim Hendricks."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:33 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

nearly lost to posterity due to a photographer's inept spelling: "Jim Hendricks."

That sort of puzzles me because it's not really all that far from "Hendrix" in an analog cataloging system. You get "Hendri...." and even with a bunch of Hendricksons in between, you'd think it might pop out at you if you were leafing through.
posted by Miko at 7:45 PM on February 27, 2012

I suspect they weren't really, you know, lost, so much as the author was trying to find a way to say, "'Jim Hendricks,' really? Really?"
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:57 PM on February 27, 2012

When I was a journalist, everyone made up their own categories for filing an item in the morgue. It was, for me, an early lesson in folksonomy and the value of an imposed ontology. Back then there was no concept of tags . . . computer-aided indexing was a thing of the future.
posted by ahimsakid at 1:49 PM on February 28, 2012

« Older what has happened to us, my songbird?   |   Will you put an end for criminals? And do you... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments