7000.2--Subject photographs consists of over 9,000 file folders of photographic prints and includes the paper's geographic files. The bulk of the subject files photographs are 8x10 or 7x9 gelatin silver prints, although other dimensions are present as well. The dates of the prints cover the newspaper's lifetime, but the vast majority date from the early 1930s to the paper's closure in 1961. A small number of original and copy negatives are scattered through the files, as are some ephemera and publications. Newspaper libraries weeded their morgues from time to time to remove images that were judged to have lost their news value.
If a print was used in the newspaper, it usually bears a pasted-down clipping of the published image with its caption and a stamped date on its back. Most prints include at least the name of the subject and a stamped date indicating when it was deposited in the morgue. There are some photos taken by Examiner staff photographers are scattered throughout the files, but most of the prints are publicity photos or from wire services like the Associated Press or International News. The wire service photos are identified with the wire service name and usually include a supplied caption either printed as part of the print, or pasted or paper clipped to the print. The publicity photographs are from a variety of sources, but most frequently from public relations firms, corporations, the government and the military. The publicity photographs usually have a caption and source information on the back.
The prints in this collection formed the active working files for the editors, writers and photographers of the Examiner. They were used repeatedly (and some, frequently) over an extended period and show signs of use, including bending, creasing, tearing, marking, poor photographic fixing, deterioration, and the advanced wear-and-tear of multiple uses. Many of the prints show permanent evidence of their use such as crop marks, retouching by highlighting or shading, and manipulation of the image by physically moving elements of it around. These marks cannot be removed as they are integral part of the record of a working newspaper morgue and have been preserved as part of the history of the morgue.
The subject files consist of both formal portraits and snapshots of events, places and things. Subjects heavily represented include the automotive and aviation industries, maps, the Korean War, the space program and the Armed Forces. However, the Examiner also maintained a separate morgue called the Tower, which was not included in the donation USC received. The subject files are mostly arranged in the original alphabetical order in which they were received from the Los Angeles Examiner. Most of the files contain prints related to a specific subject, although there are some files consisting of a range of terms.