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‘The 20th Century in a Box’: New York Historical Society Acquires Time Inc. Archive

COURTESY NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

COURTESY NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The New York Historical Society announced today that Time Inc. has donated its archive—dating all the way back from 1898—to the organization. The archive is more than 7,500 linear feet and includes an estimated 7 million documents.

Among the contents are documents from Time Inc.’s publications, as well as the personal papers of Time Inc.’s founders—Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden—including correspondence with figures like Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr. There are also items ranging from Muhammed Ali’s boxing robe to a copy of Wealth of Nations signed by Adam Smith. The NYHS describes the collection as providing both a detailed history of Time Inc.’s “media empire,” and a “detailed perspective of 20th-century history.”

“As a record of the 20th century, Time Inc.’s archive will be an invaluable resource for generations to come, revealing how our city, our country, and our world changed during the period,” Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the NYHS, said in a statement. The organization has a wealth of materials from the 17th through the 19th centuries, but this donation, Mirrer said, is something of an immediate update. “In effect, Time Inc.’s gift gives us the 20th century in a box, allowing our institution to preserve a sense of how the news was compiled and reported before the digital age.”

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