Foundation Consortium Acquires Historic African American Photographic Archive | Smithsonian

A consortium of foundations – the Ford Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – today acquired the archive of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), publisher of the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines. The acquisition is pending court approval and the closing of the sale.

The archive includes more than 4 million prints and negatives comprising the most significant collection of photographs cataloguing African American life in the 20th century. The archive was acquired for $30 million as part of an auction of the assets of JPC in connection with its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

The foundation consortium will donate the archives to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute, and other leading cultural institutions for the public benefit to ensure the broadest access for the general public and use by scholars, researchers, journalists, and other interested parties.