January 29, 2022

The Lively Morgue: A New Tumblr Page Featuring Images from The New York Times Photo Morgue

The Tumblr page will feature a steady stream of curated images (several each week) from The Times photo morgue on The Lively Morgue page. The Times has also scanned the reverse side of each image so you can read notations that were written by editors and others. Important info that is often lost when images are scanned.

From The NY Times Lens:

As David W. Dunlap notes in an introduction on Tumblr, the morgue has at least 10 million frames in all. There are five million to six million prints and contact sheets, each sheet representing many discrete images. And then there are 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches. The picture archive also includes about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery on each of 13,500 DVDs.


The Tumblr project has been in the works for many months. Along with others, Darcy Eveleigh, a picture editor, has been digging through the morgue, picking out images that catch her eye. There is little rhyme or reason to our selection, other than the obvious: We’ve chosen images that delight us. We know more information about some of the pictures than others. On the Tumblr, each one can be flipped over so that viewers can see notations on the reverse side, which explain the photos’ path at The Times over the years. We’ve also provided some clues about how to interpret them.

From The Lively Morgue “About” Page

A note about back stories: to enhance the photos’ value as artifacts and research tools, we’ll 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 below, offering some clues about the kinds of notations you’ll see over and over again as you explore the Lively Morgue.

Direct to The Lively Morgue (via Tumblr)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.