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Studs Terkel Archive, subject categories photo research and photo direction

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

With over sixty main topic categories to present, one of the most difficult task of curating this selection of images was ensuring the pacing or diversity, color versus black and white (especially challenging since photojournalism was not commonly color until the late 1980's), and visuals that encompass the broad strokes of content within the archives. Doing this image work required deep familiarity with the archives as a whole in order to direct my research and make selections appropriate to the sentiments and time of Studs Terkel's body of work.

The lead photo below is a less likely choice to illustrate the Vietnam War than seen in most heroic war story headlines. But since many of Terkel's interviewed guests were anti-war activists and former soldiers with profound thoughts and candid insights to the atrocities of several wars, this sentiment of this photo is appropriate to its category and as a representative of the archives contents. It also serves as a reminder of the very intimate and real horrors on both sides of any given battle. All category images were chosen to engage archive web visitors to click through and explore more about each topic. I purposely avoided iconic imagery, as we wanted visitors to feel they were exploring something new and unknown. I was also sure to represent as many ideals, communities, and cultures as possible with only sixty-plus opportunities to do so.

Color photo of a U.S. soldier escorting a blindfolded Vietcong prisoner during the Vietnam War in 1966
Image used to illustrate the Vietnam War subject category of the Studs Terkel Archive. A United States calvary solider escorts a blindfolded Vietcong prisoner on October 3, 1966 during the Vietnam War. ©Bettmann/Corbis/Getty Images

Here is the full list of categories within the archive:


African-American History & Culture

American History & Politics

Anthropology & Sociology

Architecture/Design/Urban Planning

Asian-American History & Culture


Childhood & Youth


Civil Rights

Cold War


Community Activism & Social Reform



Elderly & Elder Care


Feminism, Women, Women's Studies

Great Depression

Healthcare/Medicine/Mental Health

Jewish Culture & History

Journalism & Broadcasting

Latino Culture & History

Law, Crime, Prison

LGBTQ Culture & Rights


Multidisciplinary Arts

Music - General

Music - Blues & Gospel

Music - Classical

Music & Opera

Music - Experimental

Music - General

Music - Folk

Music - Jazz

Music - Other

Music - Religious

Music - Rock & Pop

Music - World Music


Native American History & Culture

Pacifists, Peace Activists & Anti-Bomb Activism



Race Relations

Science and Science Writers

Sports and Sports Writers




Theology, Religion, Religious Organizations

Travel & Culture - China

Travel & Culture - Denmark

Travel & Culture - France

Travel & Culture - Germany

Travel & Culture - Italy

Travel & Culture - Russia

Travel & Culture - South Africa

Travel & Culture - United Kingdom

Travel - OtherUrban Life

Vietnam War

Visual Arts


World History & Politics

World War II


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