Burns Archive

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Burns Archive
The Burns Archive logo.
Founded 1975
Founder Dr. Stanley B. Burns
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location New York City
Publication types Books, photographic historic texts, medical journal articles, exhibition supplements
Nonfiction topics Historic Photography, Medical Photography, Post-mortem Photography
Imprints Burns Archive Press
Official website www.burnsarchive.com

The Burns Archive is the world’s largest private collection of early medical photography and historic photographs, housing over one million photographs. [1][2]

Photo from the book, Shooting Soldiers: Civil War Medical Photography by Dr. R.B. Bontecou. Written by Dr. Stanley B. Burns, published by Burns Archive Press. This photograph depicts G. Porubsky, Co B. 46th NY volunteer soldier displaying excision of the humerus. This photograph from Bontecou's teaching album shows Bontecou's operation of bone removal in the upper arm, which left the patient with a useless limb.

About[edit]

Known as one of the world’s most important repositories of early medical history,[1] images of “the darker side of life” make up the collection:[3] anatomical and medical oddities, memorial and post-mortem photography, and original historic photographs depicting death, disease, disaster, crime, racism, revolution, riots, and war.[3] The collection traces the history of photography, from its beginnings in 1839 to the 1950s, and includes hundreds of thousands of Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes,[4] carte de visites, and hand-colored photographs.[5] The Burns Archive actively acquires, donates, researches, lectures, exhibits, consults,[6] and shares its rare and unusual[7] photographs and expertise worldwide.

The Archive’s medical collection houses photographs in the categories of pioneers and innovators, operative scenes, therapy and treatments, disease and pathology, medical specialties, interesting cases and medical curiosities, hospitals and wards, nursing, alternative practitioners, anatomy and education, laboratories and doctors’ offices, medicine and war, and more.[8] Many of these collected pictures allowed the medical community of the era to share knowledge and define pathology.[9] The Archive's historical collection ranges from categories of death and memorial, war and conflict, and crime and punishment, to occupations and industry, social and cultural history, photographic history, Judaica, Egyptology, ethnology, folk, and African American history.[4][8] The collection has been featured in over 100 exhibitions[10] at museums and galleries worldwide, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Paris' Musée d'Orsay,[11] and has donated thousands of images to institutions, including The Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.[12]

Dr. Stanley B. Burns, the Archive’s Founder, is a New York City ophthalmologist who acquired his first medical photograph in 1975 and established the Burns Archive in 1977.[13] The Archive began receiving recognition in 1978, when a selection of its 19th and 20th century photographs were featured in the Time Life Encyclopedia of Collectibles entry on photographs.[14] The Archive was called “one of the world’s most important repositories of early medical history” by The New York Times,[15] “the world’s greatest collection of early medical photography” by New York (magazine), “one of the six most important collections in the world” by Aperture (magazine), “one of America’s Top 100 Collectors” by Art and Antiques Magazine, and “the most important privately held photo archive in the world” by New York’s The Village Voice.[16]

Having written over 1,100 articles and over 40 books, the Burns Archive has published photographic historic texts[17] ranging from Victorian era funeral portraits to early oncology.[18] Dr. Burns authored Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography In America, and Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype & The Decorative Frame, 1860-1910, A Lost Chapter in American Portraiture, which both received the American Photographic Historical Society's award for the best publication of their kind, an honor never before bestowed on one author.[19] Sleeping Beauty (disambiguation) was praised by Pulitzer Prize winning author, John Updike, in the American Heritage (magazine) article he wrote on the book.[20] Burns Archive Creative Director, Elizabeth A. Burns, co-authored various books with Dr. Burns, including Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement & the Family, American and European Traditions, as well as Geisha: A Photographic History, 1872-1912, and the upcoming Stiffs, Skulls, and Skeletons, which will be released in 2014 from Schiffer Publishing.[13][21]

Images from the Burns Archive have been a major source for various documentaries (Ken Burns, the History (TV channel), PBS American Experience, television series (NBC’s Hannibal (TV series), HBO’s Autopsy (TV series), Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, Cinemax's The Knick), and feature films (Silence of the Lambs (film), Gangs of New York, The Others (2001 film)), and has inspired artists from Joel Peter Witkin to makeup artists for Jacob's Ladder (film).[16][22]

Stanley B. Burns MD, Elizabeth A. Burns, and The Burns Archive, serve as the medical, historical and technical advisers for Steven Soderbergh’s period medical Cinemax series, The Knick, starring Clive Owen.[22] The Knick looks at the professional and personal lives of Dr. John W. Thackery (played by Owen) and the staff at New York's Knickerbocker Hospital during the early part of the twentieth century. The Archive was instrumental in the recreation of turn-of-the-century medicine,[22] as Dr. Burns worked closely with production and the actors to make the hospital scenes realistic and authentic to the period.[23][24] Dr. Burns provided immersive tutorials in the world of early-20th-century surgery, complete with hands-on practice.[25] The Archive's extensive photographic record of medical history served as comprehensive resources for procedures[26] and became important references for everything from the antiseptic atomizers in the operating theater to an early X-ray machine, to the prosthetic worn by a recurring character.[27]

Books[edit]

The Burns Archive, through Burns Archive Press and other publishers, has published over 40 books in 40 years, including:[18][28]

  • (2014) Stiffs, Skulls, & Skeletons: Medical Photography and Symbolism, with Elizabeth A. Burns
  • (2012) Mirror, Mirror: The Burns Collection Daguerreotypes
  • (2011) Shooting Soldiers: Civil War Medical Photography By R.B. Bontecou
  • (2011) Sleeping Beauty III: Memorial Photography: The Children
  • (2009) Ophthalmology: A Photographic History 1845-1945, Volumes 1-4
  • (2008) Deadly Intent: Crime and Punishment Photographs from the Burns Archive
  • (2008) News Art: The Manipulated Photographs from the Burns Archive
  • (2007) Nephrology: A Photographic History 1840-1950, Volumes 1-4
  • (2007) Seeing Insanity: Photography & The Depiction of Mental Illness
  • (2006) Geisha: A Photographic History 1872-1912, with Elizabeth A. Burns
  • (2006) Patients & Promise: A Photographic History of Mental & Mood Disorders, Vol 1-4
  • (2005) Photographic History of Early Podiatry: Selections from the Burns Archive
  • (2005) Skin Pictures: Masterpiece Photographs Of Nineteenth Century Dermatology, Volumes 1-4
  • (2004) Oncology: Tumors & Treatment A Photographic History 1845-1945, Volumes 1-4
  • (2003) Respiratory Disease: A Photographic History, 1845-1945
  • (2002) Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement and The Family In Memorial Photography with Elizabeth A. Burns
  • (2002) The American Dentist: A Pictoral History
  • (1998) American Surgery: An Illustrated History
  • (1998) A Morning's Work: Medical Photographs from The Burns Archive & Collection 1843-1939
  • (1995) Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype & The Decorative Frame, 1860-1910, A Lost Chapter in American Portraiture
  • (1994) Harm's Way: Lust & Madness, Murder & Mayhem, with Joel Peter Witkin
  • (1993) Face of Mercy: A Photographic History of Medicine at War
  • (1991) Photographie Et Medecine: 1840-1880
  • (1990) Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America
  • (1987) Masterpieces of Medical Photography: Selections from the Burns Archive, with Joel Peter Witkin
  • (1983) American Medical Publication With Photographs (Monograph) New York State Journal of Medicine
  • (1983) Early Medical Photography in America: 1839-1883
  • (1980) Civil War Medical Photography, (Monograph) New York State Journal of Medicine

Films[edit]

The Burns Archive has contributed images, as well as consulting and advisory services to various feature films, including:[29]

Documentaries and television[edit]

The Burns Archive has contributed images, as well as consulting and advisory services, to various documentaries and television series, including:[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Modern Medicine Circa 1900 in Soderbergh's The Knick". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "THE BURNS ARCHIVE". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "The Morbid Anatomy Museum Opens in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Masterpiece Theatre - Shooting The Past - Explore - The Burns Archive". Pbs.org. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Working Life in Meiji Japan 1868-1912". RESOBOX. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "SERVICES - THE BURNS ARCHIVE". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Rare and Unusual Photos and Images From the Burns Archive". Newsweek.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Providing Photographic Evidence". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "From the Burns Archive: The Deadly Rays That Cured Cancer". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Modupe Labode. "Exhibition: "Shadow and Substance: African American Images from the Burns Archive"". Academia.edu. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Burns Archive Supplies Medical Expertise To New Drama Series "THE KNICK"". Yahoo Finance. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Providing Photographic Evidence". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Providing Photographic Evidence". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Encyclopedia of Collectibles" (PDF). Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Morbid Anatomy Museum Opens in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Providing Photographic Evidence". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Interview: Dr. Stanley Burns, The Knick's Medical Advisor". Mental Floss. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Archival Photos From the Early Days of Medicine -- New York Magazine". NYMag.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Copyright ©1998-2001 Eastland Memorial Society. "Eastland Memorial Society". Eastlandmemorial.org. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "American Heritage Mag Updike Article" (PDF). Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "Stiffs, Skulls & Skeletons: Medical Photography and Symbolism". Schifferbooks.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  22. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "Medicine past, present, and future: Star Trek versus Dr. Kildare and The Knick «  Science-Based Medicine". Sciencebasdedmedicine.org. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "‘The Knick’ Starring Clive Owen & Directed by Steven Soderbergh to Premiere August 8 on Cinemax - Ratings - TVbytheNumbers.Zap2it.com". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  25. ^ "5 Things We Learned from The Knick's Medical Advisor". Mental Floss. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "Bloody Hell: Steven Soderbergh Dissects His Modern, 1900s Medical Drama, "The Knick"". Co.Create. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "The Morbid Anatomy Museum Opens in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  28. ^ "SHOP". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "PROJECTS & CLIENTS". Burnsarchive.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 

External links[edit]