Thursday, 10 October 2019

In partnership with Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Northern Beaches Libraries will be showcasing over 3,500 documentary photographs in a unique exhibition entitled 'From the SMH archive'. These photos date from the 1950s to 1990s and depict areas of the Northern Beaches. While this exhibition will be spectacular, how we acquired the photos is a fascinating story in itself. It all started with a warehouse in Arkansas, USA...

In 2013, Fairfax Media made a deal with Rogers Photo Archive in Little Rock, Arkansas. In exchange for digitising the images, plus a payment of $300,000, Rogers Photo Archive would keep and sell the originals. 

Shortly after Fairfax Media shipped the archive of photographs to the USA, FBI agents conducted a raid at Rogers Photo Archive for an investigation related to sport memorabilia fraud. Legal trouble soon began and as a result, the company declared bankruptcy. Through court receivership, ownership of the photographs passed to a bank. 

Eventually, Santa Monica gallery owner Daniel Miller negotiated the sale of the archive. He then contacted over 40 representatives from museums, libraries and other institutions in the hope of putting the archive in the right hands. A portion of the archive then made its way to our collection as we became the owners of the photographs relating to the Northern Beaches.  

Come and see these extraordinary photographs at the 'From the SMH Archive' exhibition, on display at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum from 25 October to 1 December. You are also invited to the exhibition opening on Friday 25 October from 6 - 8pm, to be opened by Mayor Michael Regan. 

If you would like to know more about the photographs, come along to our Local Studies Talk on Sunday 3 November, from 11am to 12noon. This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn from our Local Studies Staff about the significance of the Northern Beaches Libraries Local Studies Collection.