From the NY Historical Society:
The New-York Historical Society is pleased to announce that Time Inc. is donating its colossal archive to New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. Comprising more than 7,500 linear feet of an estimated seven million documents and artifacts, the Time Inc. collection provides a detailed perspective of 20th-century history and Time Inc.’s media empire, offering an extraordinary level of documentation and information for researchers and historians.
The archive, whose earliest materials date from 1898, contains documents from Time Inc.’s leading publications, including Time, Fortune, Life, Sports Illustrated, People and Time-Life Books. The vast Time Inc. archive will serve as a unique chronicle of the past century and the people who shaped politics, culture, and society and as a major resource for journalists and historians.
Included in the archive are field reports from correspondents covering events as they took place around the world; photographs; original artwork; newsreels; documentaries; and subject, biographical, and reference files. The archive also includes the personal papers of Time Inc.’s founders, Henry R. Luce (1898–1967) and Briton Hadden (1898–1927), as well as successive Time Inc. leaders. Luce’s papers contain correspondence with numerous national and international public figures, including Winston Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others. A number of artifacts are also a part of the collection, ranging from an autographed boxing robe and gloves that belonged to Muhammad Ali, to a Jacques Azagury fantasy dress that Diana, Princess of Wales, wore to an event thrown by the Mayor of Florence in 1985.
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There is no way before the collection is fully assessed that a value can be placed on it, though guesses of $20 million to $25 million have been batted about. The seven million historical documents and artifacts are not going directly to the society’s museum and library building. They would overwhelm it. Instead, the collection is destined for a warehouse operated by Clancy-Cullen in Putnam County, N.Y.
The boxes will return to Manhattan, pallet by pallet, to be organized, cataloged, curated and, in some cases, displayed at the historical society. That process is expected to take five years. It is to be financed with a $2 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Mr. [Bill] Hooper [Time Inc. archivist], who has worked in the Time Inc. archive since 1980, comes along with the deal. He is to split his time between the company’s new headquarters and the historical society.