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About this collection

After his tremendously successful revival of the San Francisco Examiner, William Randolph Hearst bought the New York Morning Journal in 1895, and in the following year he founded the companion New York Evening Journal. After its establishment, the New York Morning Journal entered into a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World-Telegram, offering readers copious illustrations, color magazine sections, glaring headlines, and a reduced sales price of one cent. The newspaper became known for its sensationalism, geared to appeal to readers' emotions rather than to their intellects. Its rich early history includes a famous episode wherein its false and exaggerated reporting helped to incite the Spanish-American War of 1898. As Hearst is reported to have cabled his illustrator in Cuba: "You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."

Years later the Morning Journal changed its name to the New York American and then merged with the Evening Journal in 1937 to become the New York Journal-American, the flagship publication of the Hearst family publishing empire. The newspaper ceased publication in 1966, and the Hearst Corporation donated the photographic morgue to The University of Texas at Austin in 1968.

The photographic morgue consists of approximately two million prints and one million negatives created for publication in the New York Journal-American newspaper. The bulk of the material covers the years from 1937 to the paper's demise in 1966. Earlier decades are represented in the collection, but with decreasing frequency toward the beginning of the twentieth century. Roughly half of the prints are images taken by Journal-American staff. The backs of these prints usually bear the stamped date of publication and a pasted-down clipping from the newspaper. The majority of the other prints come from wire services such as the Associated Press, United Press International, and other syndication entities, while a small portion of the prints are publicity photos from sources such as airlines, public relations firms, movie studios, etc. Many of the prints in the morgue show crop marks and/or heavy retouching with pencil, ink, dyes, or airbrush paints as evidence of their use in publication.

 

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