HISTORY: GATES SNAPS TOP PIX

MICROSOFT'S CHAIRMAN BUYS A PHOTO ARCHIVE AND PLANS TO TRANSFORM IT INTO A VAST DIGITAL LIBRARY

IT WAS A MARRIAGE MADE IN CYBERheaven. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who amassed his fortune by anticipating the computer future, announced last week that he had bought the incomparable archive of Otto Bettmann, who made his fortune excavating the photographic past. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but it was estimated to be millions of dollars.

With that single stroke, Gates captured one of the world's great collections of documentary images: more than 16 million drawings, artworks, news photographs and other illustrations, including such familiar and haunting treasures as Mathew Brady's Civil War pictures and the photos of Rosa...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!