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The Burns Archive, with more than one million historic photographs from the birth of photography through the modern age, is best known for providing photographic evidence of forgotten, unseen and disquieting aspects of history and culture. The Archive houses unparalleled collections of early medicine, memorialization, Judaica, and the African American experience. It is renowned for its iconic images depicting the darker side of life: Death, Disease, Disaster, Crime, Racism, Revolution and War. Over the past forty years, thousands of publishers, curators, authors, researchers, artists, and filmmakers have utilized this unique source of visual documentation. The Archive has produced dozens of books and curated and contributed to hundreds of national and international museum and gallery exhibitions. The Burns Archive actively acquires, donates, researches, lectures, exhibits, publishes, consults, and shares its unique photographs and expertise worldwide. All of the photographs are available for licensing.


Stanley B. Burns, MD founded The Burns Archive in 1977 with the purpose of sharing his discoveries with the world. Since then, Dr. Burns has authored dozens of award-winning photo-history books exhibiting his world famous collection. Some of these works have helped rewrite inaccuracies in medical history. A few played a large role in the rediscovery of postmortem photography and nineteenth century mourning practices. Many explore lesser-known topics and bring to light long-forgotten histories through photography. All the publications available from the Burns Archive include hundreds of unique historic photographs and offer a window into the past. Our latest book, Picturing Freedom, chronicles and celebrates the photographic history of African Americans and their cars by focusing on personal images of the pride and joy of car ownership.

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