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Johnson Publishing Company Archive Resource Guide

A resource of publications, selected archives, bibliographies, and information relating to the Johnson Publishing Company Archive.

Programs, Exhibitions, Outreach and Publications

Introduction to the Conservation of Photographs with the Johnson Publishing Company Archive | Getty Projects

This series of workshops introduces students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to conservation as a potential career path. The first workshop was held in July 2023. They will repeat every summer in conjunction with the processing of the Johnson Publishing Company Archive.

During the workshops, students from a variety of disciplines engage with the Johnson Publishing Company Archive (JPC) and its immense treasure trove of photographic items to learn the principles of photograph conservation. This experiential learning program includes lectures, discussions, and practical tutorials with experts in photograph conservation. Students also learn about the nexus of allied professions that conservation is a part of and that all together enable the preservation, access, and interpretation of an archive such as JPC. During the practical tutorials, students learn to recognize photographic processes, perform condition assessments, surface clean photographs, and re-house slides and transparencies. Further treatment demonstrations include tear repair and emulsion consolidation. They meet with the JPC team of archivists and curators and are introduced to conservation science. Social activities provide further opportunities to network with the workshop instructors alongside the formal instruction hours.

The workshop is open to undergraduate and recently graduated HBCU students who have taken courses in history, art history, visual culture, chemistry studio photography, or a combination thereof.

These workshops are part of an effort to diversify the conservation profession, ensuring that a plurality of voices, including historically underrepresented minorities, get to decide what is preserved and how.

Photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Harry Belafonte.

NMAAHC Spirit in the Dark

This exhibit highlights the images found in the JPC Archive that show the importance of religion in Black music, activism, and popular culture. These images reflect the diversity of Black religious experiences and demonstrate the critical role religion has played in movements for social equality.

Photograph of Samuel L. Jackson recreating an image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 65th Anniversary Edition of Ebony.

NMAAHC Johnson Publishing Company: Image Power

This exhibit focuses on the impact on visual culture that JPC had as a publisher run by and for Black people. Read more about the history of JPC and the importance of publishing positive images of Black culture and life that drove the company to create its historic publications.

Photograph of Shirley Chisholm.

NMAAHC 75 Years of Ebony Magazine 

Learn more about the extensive history of JPC and Ebony and the magazine’s influence on Black culture, politics, and society in this article marking the 75th year of the historic magazine.

Photograph of Ebony Fashion Fair's 1975-1976 show "The Natural Feeling."

CHM Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Hosted by the Chicago History Museum, Inspiring Beauty, ran from March 2013 until January 2014 and was curated by Joy Bivins. The exhibit featured numerous pieces from CHM’s costume collection that had appeared in Ebony Fashion Fair, including work from designers Bob Mackie, Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne and others. Digital images of the exhibition and some of its featured fashions can be found on Capture, CHM’s image hosting website.

Photograph of the interior of the Johnson Publishing Company building.

The DuSable Black History Museum The Art of Our Storytellers: Selections from the Johnson Publishing Company Collection

This exhibit features a selection from the collection of over 150 sculptures, paintings, drawings, lithographs, and prints that were originally showcased at the Johnson Publishing Company building at 820 South Michigan Avenue. The collection includes figurative and abstract painters as well as politically and socially conscious artists and collectives, focusing on African and African American perspectives. The art collection was donated to the DuSable Museum’s permanent collection by Desiree Rogers.

Photograph taken inside of the Johnson Publishing Company Printing Plant.


Rare Book School - Archive of the People: The Johnson Publishing Company, June 3, 2024 

LeRonn Brooks, PhD. gave a lecture on the importance of JPC publications within American popular culture and the modern civil rights movement. 

Research Society for American Periodicals - Remaking Periodical ArchivesMay 25, 2024 

Skyla S. Hearn participate in the 2024 American Literature Association National Conference as a panelist to discuss the joint stewardship of the JPC Archive and two of JPC's lesser-known magazines Tan and Hue. 

Black Portraitures - Archives, Collections, and CuratingApril 21, 2024

As part of the 2024 Venice Biennale, JPCA project team members participated in a panel discussion and highlighted the African American Art History Initiative (AAAHI) at the Getty Research Institute, the ongoing archival and digitization work, and eventual public access to the JPC Archive. 

Sixty Inches From Center - Rejecting Neutrality: Reparative Description at the Johnson Publishing Company Archive by Jehoiada Zechariah Calvin, January 30, 2024

Read about the ways the JPCA team is navigating reparative description for the collection as well as insights from our Archives Assistant’s approaches to this work.

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Society of American Archivists Student Chapter featuring Jacob Wolf as Guest Speaker, November 15, 2023

Jacob Wolf, JPCA Processing Archivist, was featured as a guest speaker at UW Madison’s SAA student chapter meeting to speak about JPC and his position on the JPCA team.

UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library - Piloting Archival Processing: Insights from the JPC Archive featuring Steven D. Booth, November 8, 2023

Hear from JPCA’s Archive Manager about the two-part pilot undertaken to assess processing guidelines, workflows, and tools for rehousing and cataloging the collection. Steven D. Booth shares how the pilot was planned, prepared, and implemented as well as lessons learned for the field and larger community as it relates to large-scale collections.

Project STAND x AUC Woodruff Library Residency - Images of Activism at HBCUs in the JPC Archive featuring Steven D. Booth, September 19, 2023 

JPC Archive Manager Steven Booth was an invited speaker at the Archiving Joy and Trauma: The Humanization of BIPOC Communities residency to highlight student movements and protests at Howard University and the Atlanta University Center featured in Ebony and JET

ICOM-CC 20th Triennial Conference - Conservation in support of access: The Johnson Publishing Company photo archive featuring Krista Lough, September 18-23, 2023

This paper focuses on JPCA’s conservation survey and the methodology, results, and decisions about how to preserve these materials in support of processing and digitization. It is co-authored by Krista, Michèle Gates Moresi, Assistant Director for Collections at NMAAHC, Rachel Rivenc, Head of Conservation and Preservation at GRI, Shannon Brogdon-Grantham, Photograph Conservator at Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, and Steven D. Booth.

Legal Issues in Museum Administration Conference - Yours, Mine, Ours: The Joys of Joint Ownership featuring Margot Stokol, May 17, 2023

Assistant General Counsel at J. Paul Getty Trust presented the JPC Archive as a case study during a panel discussion about the legal and practical considerations for joint ownership of collections.

August Wilson Society’s Biennial Colloquium - Black Archives Matter featuring Steven D. Booth, LeRonn P. Brooks, Aaron Bryant, and Deidre Cross, March 3, 2023

JPCA project team members discussed the significance of Black archives in understanding American history and culture, the importance of living artists maintaining their archival materials, the ways artists’ archives document histories, and the ethics and approaches in archival research today.

DigiTIPS 2022 - Who’s Who: Identifying Individuals in the JPC Archive featuring Steven D. Booth and Laura Schroffel, April 26, 2022

In this talk, JPCA project team members discuss the initiative to convert approximately 75,000 names identified in the collection into linked data using OpenRefine.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - The Life and Legacy of Emmett Till featuring Steven D. Booth with Christina Shutt (ALPLM), creator and writer of “Women of the Movement” TV drama Marissa Jo Cerar, and Executive Director for the Two Mississippi Museums Pamela Junior, February 17, 2022

These panelists share their thoughts on the historical contexts in Chicago and Mississippi experienced by Emmett Till, the impact that the photographs of his death had on the public when published by Jet magazine, and the impact the new television drama had in conversations about the past’s relevance to current events.

Loyola Law School - Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series: Rescuing the Ebony & Jet Photography ArchivesFebruary 21, 2021

Attorney George C. Fatheree discusses how the acquisition of the JPC Archive came together, the legal matters that came into play and what the transaction meant to him personally. 

Photograph Credit

Johnson Publishing Company Archive. Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Made possible by the Ford Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Smithsonian Institution.