The Soibelman Syndicate News Agency Archive is an extensive and diverse collection of more than 40,000 news agency photographs from the interwar period.
The collection spans topics ranging from the momentous to the seeming trivial, from aerial views of Yugoslavia, to the Spanish Civil War, Nazi Germany, aviation, the construction of roads, dams and bridges, mining disasters, pipe cleaner art, royalty, jai alai, as well as great many men and women nearly forgotten almost a century later. Most of the prints include typed labels providing valuable context and understanding of the scenes as presented.
In 1932, Bernard “Buster” Soibelman registered the name Soibelman Syndicate and began business in New York City as a photo news agency. The mainstay of their business was to act as brokers, buying from photographers, wire services and other photographic holdings, and selling to newspapers and magazines. Even in the midst of the Great Depression, the field of news photography was greatly in demand and richly competitive. The Soibelmans bought a number of competitors’ collections, in part and whole, and used these growing resources, of images and clients, to expand. However, by the latter half of 1942, debt and increasing competition from larger photo news agencies including the Associated Press and Universal News Reel would force the Soibelman Syndicate to close its doors, and to sell off what they could. Picked over by others, the end result is a photographic holding best described as an eclectic cross-section of its time.