LOOK magazine was founded in 1937 and published as a bi-weekly, general interest magazine. By the 1950s, it had evolved into a popular magazine with a national circulation, and by the late 60s, it reached a peak circulation of nearly 8 million readers. LOOK was well known for its photography, with images by such prominent photographers as Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Rothstein, John Vachon, Charlotte Brooks, Frank Bauman, Jim Hansen, Paul Fusco, and Tony Vaccaro. Each published assignment usually featured no more than a dozen images, and the number of images taken for a single assignment varied from a few dozen to a few hundred. As a result, at least 80% of the estimated 200,000 images in the LOOK Collection never reached the publication’s pages.
Cowles Magazines donated the LOOK magazine photographs related to New York City-specific assignments to the Museum, and it is the single largest collection in the Museum’s holdings. Work has been underway for decades in order to improve stewardship and accessibility. Eyes on America: Processing and Cataloging the LOOK Collection will make available 2,242 assignment level catalog records accompanied by approximately 8,500 reference scans. Eyes on America: Processing and Cataloging the LOOK Collection has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.