Magazine article American Libraries

Harry Ransom Center to House Magnum Photo Archive

Magazine article American Libraries

Harry Ransom Center to House Magnum Photo Archive

Article excerpt

Magnum Photos, the photographic cooperative whose members snapped some of the most iconic images of the last half of the 20th century, has sold its archives of almost 200,000 original press prints to an investment firm that has partnered with the University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Center to preserve, catalog, and make accessible the photos.


The collection covers major events, celebrities, world leaders, social affairs, and enduring images such as the green-eyed "Afghan Girl" who graced the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Its new owner is an affiliate of MSD Capital, the private investment firm of computer mogul and Austin resident Michael Dell.

"Housing the collection at the Ransom Center not only allows this archive to be studied by photographers but also helps satisfy the huge interest in it among historians, anthropologists, curators, journalists, and the public at large," said Mark Lubell, managing director of Magnum Photos.

Harry Ransom Center Curator of Photography David Coleman told American Libraries, "We will make these prints accessible through our reading room like we do with all of our collections," adding that public access should begin this spring. Initially, the Ransom Center will maintain the organization that Magnum used, with photos in boxes divided variously by subject, photographer, and geographic region.

"We wanted to make it available as quickly as we could," Coleman explained, adding that librarians will continually be cataloging the collection to provide more information. …

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