Library of Congress Prints and Photographs: An Illustrated Guide
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Portfolio 2: Pictorial Journalism

The first photograph published in an American newspaper-- actually a photomechanical reproduction of a photograph--appeared in the Daily Graphic on March 4, 1880. Before that time it was common practice for American editors to enlist artists to sketch and report on news events, from steamboat explosions to the battles of the Civil War. It was not until 1919, with the launching of New York's Illustrated Daily News, that American newspapers began to feature photographs routinely. The lighter cameras and "faster" lenses introduced in the 1920s brought about a revolution in news photography, ushering in the age of photojournalism.

The Library preserves several premiere archives of pictorial journalism, including several thousand drawings by Civil War artist-correspondents, the studio archives of several early news photographic agencies such as the Bain News Service and the National Photo Company, and the morgues of such publications as Look magazine, the New York World Telegram and Sun, and U.S.News and World Report. These collections offer historians vivid documentation of the newsworthy events of yesterday, as well as providing insights into journalistic practice and biases.

Thumbnail image of Alfred Waud's "Wounded Escaping from the Burning Woods in the Wilderness, May 6, 1864 (Pencil and Chinese white on brown paper)" Alfred Waud. Wounded Escaping from the Burning Woods in the Wilderness, May 6, 1864. Pencil and Chinese white on brown paper.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-1308 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-7043 (b&w film copy neg.)

If not the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness may have been the most terrifying. It was fought in early May, 1864, in the dense, dry pine forests south of the Rapidan River and west of Fredericksburg, Virginia. In his sketch Waud captured the panic overwhelming disabled soldiers on the ground and the ambulance corps charged with their care, as brushfires, ignited by gun and cannonfire, burned out of control. Waud was one of the most prolific and talented of the artists assigned to the field by the editors of Harper's Weekly magazine. More than eleven hundred sketches by Waud are among the Library's collection of Civil War drawings, prints, and photographs that make up the nation's most comprehensive visual record of that war. (Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan)

Thumbnail image of D.B. Woodbury and Alexander Gardner's "Military Bridge, Across the Chickahominy,
     Virginia, Maryland, June 1862 (Albumen silver print (published 1865))" D.B. Woodbury and Alexander Gardner, for the Mathew B. Brady Studio. Military Bridge, Across the Chickahominy, Virginia, Maryland, June 1862. Albumen silver print (published 1865).
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3895 (color transparency)

"A spirit in my feet said 'go,' and I went," is how Brady later explained his motivation for taking his photographic practice into the field during the Civil War. The grandfather of American war correspondents, Brady used the fortune he had made from his successful New York portrait studio to place dozens of photographers, like Alexander Gardner, in various parts of the theater of operations during the war. By his own estimate Brady spent nearly $100,000 on this pioneering endeavor. After suffering great losses in the financial panic of 1873, Brady was temporarily rescued from financial ruin by an act of Congress authorizing the purchase of his daguerreotypes for the nation. An archive of over 7,500 of the Brady Studio's Civil War glass negatives came to the Library in 1943.

Thumbnail image of William Glackens's "A Street Scene at Tampa City (Gouache and ink over graphite on wove paper, 1898)" William Glackens. A Street Scene at Tampa City . Gouache and ink over graphite on wove paper, 1898.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3896 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-112879 (b&w film copy neg.)

The Spanish-American War, though brief, was a fruitful source of enduring legends in American military history, from the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor to Theodore Roosevelt's famous charge at San Juan Hill. In this drawing by the young painter William Glackens, American troops parade through Tampa City en route to transport ships waiting to take them to Cuba. Dispatched to the front by Colliers' magazine to cover the war, Glackens was one of a number of artists of New York's Ash-Can school who made a living early in their careers as artist reporters. The drawings produced on this assignment were donated to the Library by the artist's son. (Gift of Ira Glackens)

Thumbnail image of  "President Calvin Coolidge Facing Press Photographers,
          1924 (Recent gelatin silver print from original glass
          negative)" Photographer unknown (National Photo Company). President Calvin Coolidge Facing Press Photographers, 1924. Recent gelatin silver print from original glass negative.
Reproduction #: LC-F8-12345 (b&w glass neg.)

Calvin Coolidge entered the White House at the dawn of the "communications age." The early twentieth century saw the rise of photographic agencies like the Bain News Service, the National Photo Company, and others, formed in the early years of this century to satisfy the increasing demand for magazine and newspaper pictures. Acutely aware of the potential usefulness of the press to his administration's goals, Coolidge became one of the most photographed presidents of the era. Archives of both the Bain and National Photo firms, which combined total nearly 250,000 negatives and prints, are among the Library's extensive photojournalistic holdings. (National Photo Company Collection)

Thumbnail image of  "Emma Goldman on a Street Car, 1917 (Recent gelatin silver print from original glass 
          negative)" Photographer Unknown (Bain News Service). Emma Goldman on a Street Car, 1917. Recent gelatin silver print from original glass negative.
Reproduction #: LC-B2-4215-16 (b&w glass neg.)

This candid photograph was probably taken during one of the many strikes or antiwar demonstrations in which the anarchist and feminist was active during World War I. Two years later, at the height of the Red Scare, Goldman was deported to the Soviet Union, to return in 1934, disenchanted with the Soviet experiment and with the violent political repression in Stalin's Russia. No doubt the photographer saw the irony in the patriotic Uncle Sam poster visible here behind the feisty ideologue's head. (Bain News Service Collection)

Thumbnail image of  Walker Evans' "Floyd Burroughs' Farm, from Hale and Perry Counties and Vicinity, Alabama, 1935-1936 (Gelatin silver prints in two albums)" Walker Evans. Floyd Burroughs' Farm, from Hale and Perry Counties and Vicinity, Alabama, 1935-1936. Gelatin silver prints in two albums.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3897 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-103145 (b&w film copy neg.)

Evans's unpublished 1936 photographic essay on the homes and families of three Alabama sharecroppers grew out of an assignment James Agee was given to write an article on cotton tenancy for Fortune magazine's "Life and Circumstances" series. At that time Evans was at the peak of his artistic powers, but was under contract to the New Deal's Resettlement Administration. Impressed with Evans's careful and unsentimental studies of the rural poor, Agee persuaded the agency to lend Evans to the magazine on the condition that the photographs produced on the assignment would become government property. In fact, the photographs were never published by Fortune, but the collaboration resulted in the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. (Transfer, Office of War Information)

Thumbnail image of  Toni Frissell's "Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Air Base at Rametti, Italy, March 1945 (Recent gelatin silver print from original negative)" Toni Frissell. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Air Base at Rametti, Italy, March 1945. Recent gelatin silver print from original negative.
Reproduction #: LC-F9-02-4503-330-2 (b&w film neg.)

Davis was commanding officer of the 332d Fighter Pilot Squadron, the only black pilot unit in the American armed services during World War II. He was photographed at the unit's base in southern Italy by Toni Frissell who, after the war, resumed her distinguished career as fashion and portrait photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Life, and Town and Country. When Frissell retired from professional photography in 1971 she donated the archives of her career's work to the Library of Congress. (Gift of the photographer)

James Karales. Civil Rights March, May 1965. Recent gelatin silver print from original negative. Published in Look magazine. [Not currently available due to copyright restrictions.]

During the 1960s the attention of the American public was often drawn to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Look magazine photographer James Karales captured in epic, haunting terms a moment a watershed event in that struggle: the 1965 march from Selma to Mongomery, Alabama. Three hundred black Americans and many white priests, ministers, nuns, and rabbis participated in the fifty-four mile march to protest and publicize African-Americans' disenfranchisement under discriminatory southern Jim Crow laws. Karales's photograph accompanied an article about the role of organized religion in the desegregation campaign. The Look magazine photographic morgue in the Library's collection totals nearly 5 million photographs, negatives, and transparencies. (Look Magazine Collection. Gift of John and Gardner Cowles)

Photographer unknown (Black Star Agency). Tenth Regiment 7 ARVN Division Infantrymen Awaiting U.S. Helicopters at Ben Tre, Vietnam, January 1970. Recent gelatin silver print from original negative. [Not currently available due to copyright restrictions.]

Vietnamization was the term used for the phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in Vietnam and their replacement by native forces (ARVN). Here a newly formed South Vietnamese unit awaits transport to the landing zone of an operation between Saigon and the Cambodian border. The photograph is printed from one of over a million negatives in the archive of U.S. News and World Report magazine. (U.S. News and World Report. Gift of the U.S. News and World Report Corporation)

Thumbnail image of  Danny Lyon's "Gonaïves, February 9, 1986" (Gelatin silver print, printed in 1989) Danny Lyon. Gonaïves, February 9, 1986. Gelatin silver print, printed in 1989. Copyright Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos, Inc. For any reproduction rights, digital or print, please contact Magnum Photos, 151 W. 25th Street, New York, NY 10001, (212) 929-6000, FAX (212) 929-9325. This photograph is from Danny Lyon's account of the 1986 revolution in Haiti called Merci Gonaïves, a photographer's account of Haiti and the February Revolution, available from D.A P. Book Distributors.

The revolt that ultimately toppled Haitian dictator Jean- Claude ("Baby Doc") Duvalier is believed to have originated in the rural village of Gonaïves, in January 1986. By chance, photographer Danny Lyon was in Haiti at that moment. Long familiar with the people of the island, Lyon published his book Merci Gonaïves, in which this photograph appeared, as a counterpoint to largely superficial media coverage of the event, which had presented the popular revolt as gratuitously and hideously violent. The photographer's journal entry from the day this photograph was taken reads: "Firing continues at night. Outside of Port-au-Prince it is quiet. The Haitians I know believe they have their revolution . . . . Television is discussing events freely for the first time in Haitian history."

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