Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The New York Times War Pictorial (1914-1918)

During World War I leading American newspapers took advantage of a new printing process that dramatically altered their ability to reproduce images. Rotogravure printing, which produced richly detailed, high quality illustrations was used to create vivid new pictorial sections. This new technique also made it possible to produce special war pictorials on an unprecedented scale. 

Belgian machine gunner. Copied from the New York Times War Pictorial (1914)

Beginning March 29, 1914, the New York Times became one of six US newspapers to regularly publish rotogravure art sections as a separate section, mid-week and on Sundays. The Times later compiled images from these sections into a book entitled The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings. This volume included images from the New York Times mid-week pictorials published from the start of World War I in 1914 until the signing of the Armistice in 1919.

Research Source

Most of the Sunday edition pictorials have been scanned and digitized by the Library of Congress, and prove to be an important historical source. While researching our book American Cinematographers in the Great War we frequently used the New York Times War Pictorial section. Because many of the war photographers that we researched handled both a still and a movie camera their work also turned up in the war pictorials that were published in this newspaper. 

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