Ford, Mellon, and MacArthur Foundations transfer sole ownership of historic Ebony and Jet Photo Archive to Getty and NMAAHC

The Getty Trust commits $30 million to digitize the Johnson Publishing Company archive, which features more than 4 million prints and negatives that chronicle 20th-century Black life.

A consortium comprising the Ford Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution, announced the official transfer of ownership of the acclaimed Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) archive to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and to the Getty Research Institute, a program of the Getty Trust. 

The Getty Trust has committed $30 million in support for the processing and digitization of the archive—an essential step in the critical work of making this preeminent collection available and searchable to scholars, researchers, journalists, and the general public. With work already underway, portions of the archive will be accessible to the public during the ongoing intensive digitization process.

The JPC collection is regarded as one of the most significant and substantial collections of Black American culture in the 20th century, and features images from the iconic publications Ebony and Jet. The archive will be physically housed at the NMAAHC in Washington DC, with a portion of the JPC archive pertinent to the history and culture of Chicago is expected to be housed permanently in Chicago.