AboutRogers Photo Archive
At the Rogers Photo Archive, our passion for historic photography runs deep. We are on a crusade to save the world's great historic archives, one by one. We realize that many of them are in peril. Every one of us has heard the story of a great collection that was tossed in a dumpster a decade ago, when space became more important than dusty boxes of history. One newspaper we contacted sold its archive for $600 to a company that salvaged the silver out of the negative strips. Another newspaper held a "glass negative-breaking party," where staffers got together to chuck images from the 1920s into a dumpster along with beer bottles and trash.
Beyond these dramatic examples, there are the archives that have fallen to the simple march of time. We have come across spectacular collections where images chronicling World War II, early Beatles concerts, and America's western frontier have disintegrated into our hands. Negatives and prints don't last forever. The time to digitize them is now.
“We are on a crusade to save the world’s great historic archives, one by one.”
Our story begins with a kid and a baseball card.
John Rogers, RPA's owner, was seven years old when he fell in love with the black-and-white imagery of baseball icons on vintage baseball cards and started his collection. By 2008, he was one of the world's great sports memorabilia collectors and traders, paying $1.62 million for a rare Honus Wagner baseball card.
Along the way, he acquired the photo collections of the top baseball photographers from the early 1900s to present day. He eventually amassed the world's largest privately-held collection of photographic images. His library of 52 million images includes vintage studio photographs, news photos, glass plate negatives, and cutting-edge digital photography. He began licensing the images in 2000, eventually expanding his business to forge partnerships with publications and photographers all over the country.