Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

"FLASH! The Associated Press
Covers the World"

Benefactors' Special Exhibition Gallery

June 9, 2002 - August 4, 2002

FLASH! CollageFor more than 150 years the Associated Press has covered the news, beginning as a cooperative venture among six New York newspapers and growing into a worldwide news-gathering organization. Today the Associated Press serves more than 15,000 news organizations worldwide, providing news to billions of people each day.

For decades the AP has provided galvanizing news images of global events. The visual and emotional impact of photography is difficult to measure. But many of these photographs, literally seen by millions each day, have become icons of events in world history. The famous images of the American flag being raised on Iwo Jima; Harry Truman beaming over his surprise election victory in 1948; the fiery crash of the Hindenburg; a solitary protester defying a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square - these are images that have immortalized some of the signature events of the past century.

More than 130 Associated Press photographs are now on display at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library, freezing moments in time and bringing all of us closer to events from around the world.

Here's an online sample of this amazing historical museum exhibition


AMELIA EARHART; Londonderry, Northern Ireland; May 22, 1932; Photographer unknown A crowd cheers for Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic alone, as she boards her plane in Londonderry for the trip to London.   
THE HINDENBURG; Lakehurst, N.J.; May 6, 1937; Murray Becker, photographer
The zeppelin is late. Photographers grow uneasy in the waning light. The Hindenburg drifts into view at 7:20 p.m. A few minutes later the German airship bursts into flames. Murray Becker swings his heavy 4x5 Speed Graphic. One shot, two shots, seconds ticking as he struggles for a third, all the while murmuring "My God! My God!." Thirty-six passengers and crew die. Becker shoots until the last victim is led away. Then he leans back and begins to cry.

The Movies

Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft from a New York subway grating while in character for the filming of The Seven Year Itch. This classic photo of the actress is a much-imitated pose that endures in the visual lexicon of fashion photography.

MARILYN MONROE; New York; Sept. 1, 1954; Matty Zimmerman, photographer

Fans surround crooner Frank Sinatra as he arrives for Hollywood film and singing engagements.

FRANK SINATRA; Pasadena, Calif.; Aug. 11, 1943; John T. Burns, photographer


PAYING RESPECTS; Calcutta, India; Sept. 9, 1997; David Longstreath, photographer A child waits in line outside Saint Thomas' church with a bouquet of flowers to pay last respects to Mother Teresa, winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor. David Longstreath uses a digital camera to capture this moment, speeding the image to newspapers around the world.

THE WINNER!; St. Louis; Nov. 4, 1948; Byron Rollins, photographerPresidents

Election night, Nov. 2, 1948. Truman trails. By 10 p.m., it appears he's lost. The Chicago Tribune starts its presses with the early results. But things change, and by 4 a.m. on Nov. 3 Truman is the winner. Byron Rollins captures the jubilant president holding up the Chicago Tribune's election day edition error. Truman tells well-wishers in St. Louis, "That is one for the books!" Rollins hands off his film and heads off to bed for his first sleep in 20 hours.
BILL CLINTON; Boston; April 28, 1992; Stephan Savoia, photographer; PULITZER PRIZE
Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton addresses the media as Rep. Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts looks on. Campaign stops are elaborately staged, scripted to provide a "preferred" message to the news media and the public.

RICHARD M. NIXON; Washington; Aug. 9, 1974; Chick Harrity, photographer
On August 9, 1974, the day of his resignation, Richard M. Nixon waves goodbye from the steps of his helicopter as he leaves the White House.

RAISING THE FLAG; Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands; Feb. 23, 1945; Joe Rosenthal, photographer; PULITZER PRIZEWar

During the battle for the small Pacific Island of Iwo Jima, Marines and a Navy corpsman raise the flag atop Mount Suribachi. The six men who brave the mountain: Ira Hayes, Franklyn Sousley, Harlan Block, Michael Strank, John Bradley, and Rene Gagnon. "In a way, it is a picture of a miracle," says photographer Joe Rosenthal. "No man who survived that beach can tell you how he did it. It was like walking through rain and not getting wet." The photo is one of the most reproduced of the 20th century. It appears on a postage stamp and serves as inspiration for the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.(PULITZER PRIZE)

THEY'RE BACK!; New York; Aug. 31, 1945; Photographer unknown


World War II veterans returning from Europe fill every porthole as the Queen Elizabeth pulls into a pier in New York harbor.
WELCOME HOME; Foster City, Calif.; March 17, 1973; Sal Veder, photographer; PULITZER PRIZE
Homecoming day for a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war. Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, USAF, survived more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. He steps off the plane, and hesitates. His wife, Loretta Stirm and their children Lori, 15, Robert, 14, Cynthia, 13, and Roger, 12, all rush forward to greet him. Unfortunately, the happy ending doesn't last. Within a year, Bob and Loretta divorce.(PULITZER PRIZE)

WELCOME HOME; New York; June 11, 1991; Doug Mills, photographerAfter breaking through police lines, Debi Kahn of New Jersey jumps into the arms of a returning Gulf War veteran during New York's Welcome Home Parade.

LINDY CONTEST; New York; April 24, 1953; H.V. Nolde, photographer


While newspapers worldwide were reporting Lindbergh's pioneering aeroplane flight across the Atlantic, the 'Lindy Hop' dance craze catches on and New Yorkers Lee Moates and Tonita Malau show their winning style during a Lindy contest on the block-long floor of Harlem's Savoy Ballroom.



CHOW DOWN; Atlantic City, N.J.; Sept. 16, 1946; Sam Meyers, photographer

Izzy Weintraub of Atlantic City and Catherine Hollis of Chester, Pa., eat cherrystone clams at the Atlantic City annual clam-eating contest. In 20 minutes, Izzy eats 96 and Catherine 66.
FAMINE VICTIM; Baidoa, Somalia; Dec. 16, 1992; Jerome Delay, photographer


Aabiba Nuur, who weighs only 46 pounds, sits in a feeding center in a town devastated by Somalia's famine and civil war. Stark images from Somalia, transmitted to the world via satellite, help shape public opinion and pressure the United Nations to take action.

TIANANMEN SQUARE; Beijing; May 5, 1989; Jeff Widener, photographer

On the streets

A man blocks a line of tanks on Beijing's Changan Boulevard after Chinese forces crush pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Bystanders pull the man away and the tanks move on.

PENSION DISPUTE; Paris; Dec. 10, 1949; Jean-Jacques Levy, photographerA veteran of World War II waves his crutches as he and other disabled French servicemen demonstrate for higher pensions.

POPULAR SUPPORT; Moscow; Aug. 20, 1991; Boris Yurchenko, photographer; PULITZER PRIZE
A Muscovite applauds
a speech by Alexander Yakovlev, former adviser to President Mikhail Gorbachev. Yakovlev denounces the doomed Kremlin coup attempt that briefly drove Gorbachev from office.(PULITZER PRIZE)



CARL LEWIS; Barcelona, Spain; Aug. 7, 1992; Eric Risberg, photographer

U.S. long jumper Carl Lewis makes his third jump of the Olympic finals, beating world record holder Mike Powell to become the first three-time gold medalist in the long jump. Lewis wins a fourth gold medal in the long jump in 1996.