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STANLEY B. BURNS, MD, FACS is an ophthalmologist and Research Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Professor of Medical Humanities at New York University: Langone Medical Center. He is an internationally distinguished author, curator, historian, collector, and archivist. In 1975, he began collecting historic photography with an emphasis on unique photographs not available anywhere else. Dr. Burns’s collection of over one million vintage photographs (1840-1950) has been generally recognized as the most important private comprehensive collection of early photography. In 1977, he founded The Burns Archive to share his discoveries, and he began his writing career. Dr. Burns has written 50 photo-historical texts and more than one thousand journal articles, and has curated more than one hundred exhibitions. He consults on feature films, documentaries, and television series. He was the Medical, Historical and Technical Advisor to the HBO/Cinemax series THE KNICK about a New York City hospital in the year 1900, as well as the PBS Civil War series MERCY STREET. When not collecting, Dr. Burns spends his time consulting, lecturing, creating exhibits, and writing books on under-appreciated areas of history and photography. 

ELIZABETH A. BURNS is the Creative and Operations Director of The Burns Archive and Press. Liz has curated numerous exhibitions, created many books, and consulted on myriad documentaries and films. In 2002, under a grant by the United States and Israeli governments, she produced A Dream Deferred, The African American Experience 1848-1928, the inaugural exhibition at the Center for the Study of the United States in Haifa, Israel. Other exhibits she has prepared feature works on hand-painted Japanese photography, memorialization, criminology, Lewis Hine, the SS Ben Hecht, and African American history. Her books include Sleeping Beauty II, Geisha: A Photographic History, 1872-1913, The Burns Archive Medical Specialty Series, Stiffs, Skulls & Skeletons: Medical Photography and Symbolism, Mensur & Schmiss: German Dueling Societies, and Setting Sun: Painted Photographs of Meiji Japan. She was the onset photographic historian consultant on the HBO/Cinemax series THE KNICK and PBS’ MERCY STREET. Liz lives in New York City and actively promotes photography and history through publications, exhibitions, and events.



Since 1982, Stanley B. Burns, MD has donated thousands of historic photographs to

museum, library, and university collections around the world.


Recipients of these images include:

Medical advancement at the turn of the century was more profound than at any time in history. Stanley B. Burns, MD '64, has the photographic evidence to prove it...

•    Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

•    National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

•    New Orleans Museum of Art

•    Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin

•    Smithsonian Institution

•    Museum of Modern Art, New York

•    Museum of American Folk Art, New York

•    National Museum of Health & Medicine

•    Philadelphia Museum of Art

•    Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego

•    Oakland Museum of California

•    The Bronx Museum of the Arts

•    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

•    McMullen Museum of Art, Boston

•    Israel Museum, Jerusalem

•    Center of Contemporary History, Wyoming

•    The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York

•    J. Paul Getty Museum, Santa Monica

•    Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore

•    Green-wood Cemetery Historic Association, Brooklyn, New York

•    Columbia College, Chicago

•    American Museum of the Moving Image, Queens, New York

•    South Street Seaport Museum, New York

•    Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design, New York

•    National Arts Club, New York

•    Cushing / Whitney Medical Library at Yale, New Haven, Connecticut

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