FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas university is now the home of a photo archive containing nearly a million photos of historical figures and events.
The archive includes photos of Babe Ruth, Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe. There are also pictures documenting politics, wars, natural disasters and the civil-rights movement.
Dennis T. Clark, dean of libraries, said the large trove is very significant in American journalism. He said it is the New York Post’s photo archive, which contains photos dating back to the 1860s. The Post sold the archive a few years ago.
Clark said the gift came from a donor in 2017, who wished to remain anonymous.
“It’s not typically something you’d find at the University of Arkansas, but we’re fortunate to have the opportunity,” Clark noted. “Fundamentally, we’re really focused on Arkansas and the region and things that matter to Arkansans. But sometimes this kind of thing comes over the transom. The university accepted it and it’s our job to figure out how to manage it.”
Lori Birrell, head of the Special Collections department at the UA library, said the donation will draw attention to the university.
“It shows that the university is interested in really having a national and international presence, and I think this collection, based on the documentation that I’ve seen, certainly represents a wide variety of subjects and people from a lot of different backgrounds and locations,” Birrell said.
Clark said it will take the university years to process the photos and share them with researchers.
Getty Images has digitized many of the photos.
“Our understanding is pretty much the entire collection is shared with Getty, so they have the license,” Clark said. “We don’t have anything to do with those images. These are strictly to some extent the original artifacts.”