Photographers working on staff for the New York World-Telegram & Sun newspaper captured many aspects of life in the decades between the 1920s and the 1960s, focusing on faces, flavors, and phenomena in New York City.
The Library of Congress’ New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection includes photographs of worldwide events that the newspaper acquired from commercial sources. But concentrating on the photographs made by the photographers who were on the newspaper’s staff holds appeal, not only for the window it provides on the evolution of the city and its concerns, but because those are the photographs that the donors were able to place in the public domain, so they can be used without restriction.
Looking at the staff photographs reminds us that the streets of the city were regularly the site of protests and demonstrations, where groups communicated their opinions and hopes. Walking through the 1950s and 1960s staff photographs, for instance, we see Teamster Union members picketing City Hall about wages and pensions in 1954.
In 1962, members of the Women Strike for Peace organization cautioned President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.Three years later, marchers declared their support for civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, by taking to the streets in Harlem.
A photograph of a 1967 march suggests a variety of perspectives in play, as police on horseback observe demonstrators carrying placards in support of the war in Vietnam and other pedestrians, who are not carrying signs, make their way against the tide of marchers. A street sign suggests the march had reached 3rd Avenue. Newspaper accounts from 1967 suggest just how regularly protestors took to the street to express their views on the war.
The life of a city runs through its homes and businesses as well as its streets, and through intimate encounters as well as public declarations. The New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection covered all of these and offers a window into a city as it honored tradition and, at the same time, evolved with the times.
- Read about the New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection and view photographs by staff photographers that have been digitized and individually cataloged, generally in response to researchers’ purchase of quality copies.
- View some of our previous blog posts about how pictures from the collections give us a glimpse of the life of the city in past eras.
- Newspaper photograph collections, generally referred to as “morgues,” can broaden our view of the history as it unfolded in the daily news. Have a look at the list of newspaper photograph morgues in North American public institutions—maybe there’s one near you!