Archivist Steven Booth joins the RBML virtually to discuss the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) archive: acquired in 2019 by a consortium of philanthropic and cultural heritage organizations, the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) Archive is co-owned by the Getty Research Institute (GRI) and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Dating from 1942, when John H. and Eunice W. Johnson founded JPC, to the 21st century, the Archive contains over 4.5 million photographs of published and unpublished works documenting the Black experience, many of which were taken by staff photographers and featured in JPC’s 12 publications, most notably Jet and Ebony. In addition to the historically significant events and behind-the-scenes moments depicted, the Archive presents an unmatched and unique record of many facets of the life, work, and contributions of Black individuals, communities, groups, organizations, and businesses. In preparation for full-scale archival processing, archivists from the GRI and JPC project staff conducted a two-part pilot to test and evaluate the efficiency of the processing guidelines, workflows, and tools developed for rehousing and cataloging the photographs. This presentation will provide insight into the planning, preparation, and implementation of the JPC Archive processing pilot and offer lessons learned for cultural heritage professionals and the community to consider when working with large-scale archival collections.
Steven D. Booth (he/him) is an archivist, independent researcher, and co-founder of The Blackivists. He is currently the archivist of the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) Archive at the Getty Research Institute. He has been an active member of SAA since 2008 and was named an SAA Fellow in 2022.