Leslie Jones Photo Archives Mesmerizing

What is surely among the most remarkable archives of black and white news photography is coming out of the shadows.  The Leslie Jones photo archive, donated by the late Boston photographer’s family years ago, has now been digitized by the Boston Public Library and the images are being released online.

Jones photographed countless subjects and events during his career in the Boston media from 1917-1956.  However, it’s his baseball photos–nearly 3,000 of them–that have drawn the most attention.

Jones died in 1967, and later his family donated his massive archive–over 36,000 photos in all–to the BPL.  Not until the last couple of years, though, has a process for efficiently digitizing them been available.   The first batch of photos–most dating from the 1930s–was released last week.  It includes images of Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and others.  Remarkably clear in detail, the photos include posed and action shots, including some taken just a few steps from home plate, in an era when photographers were permitted to rush toward a play on the field.

Some of the players and coaches featured in the photos were identified by Jones at the time he took them, but others required the assistance of the Society for American Baseball Research, whose members helped tag hundreds of subjects.

While it’s not known whether copies of the photos will be available for purchase, they are available to see free of charge here.

Boston.com also published an excellent story about Jones and his pictures.  You can read it here.