Washington, DC Area

Photographs and Graphic Works in the National Archives at College Park, MD

General Information

For Visitors

The estimated 14 million analog and one million born-digital photographs and graphic images in the Still Picture holdings at the National Archives at College Park, attract a wide variety of researchers: documentary filmmakers, print and electronic publishers, media representatives, military veterans, museum curators, social and cultural historians, and the general public.

The National Archives Building in College Park, Maryland.

On-site researchers may examine the images and related finding aids in the Still Picture Research Room at College Park, Maryland. Consult the Still Picture staff in advance about the availability of records, and about restrictions involving the use of NARA-provided copying equipment -- copy stands, and black-and-white and color electrostatic copiers -- and the use of researchers' own equipment.

Research Hours:

Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Contact Us

For further information about the photographs and graphic works held in the Still Picture unit at College Park, contact:

Still Picture Reference
Special Media Archives Services Division
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, Maryland 20740-6001

Telephone number: 301-837-0561
FAX number: 301-837-3621
E-Mail address: stillpix@nara.gov

Inquiries concerning pictorial materials held with related textual files should be directed to the appropriate part of the Textual Archives Services:

  • in the College Park, MD, facility:
    • Civil Reference (telephone, 301-837-3480; FAX, 301-837-1919)
    • Military Reference (telephone, 301-837-3510; FAX, 301-837-1919)
  • in the Washington, DC, facility:
    • Civil Reference (telephone, 202-357-5411; FAX, 202-357-5937)
    • Military Reference (telephone, 202-357-5311; FAX, 202-357-5937).

For obtaining copies, see information on Ordering Still Picture Reproductions.


Information about the Holdings

Some of the specific subjects found in our holdings include:

Still Picture unit holdings parallel the ever-evolving history of photography. Found among the records are examples of virtually every photographic and photomechanical process and format, from glass to digital, from black-and-white to color, from hand-tinted slides to posters. Collodion wet plate glass negatives, acetate and polyester film negatives, chromogenic negatives and transparencies, salt prints, albumen prints, gelatin developing-out prints, cyanotypes, letterpress halftones, and photolithographs are just a few of the processes represented. Among the diverse formats are cartes de visite, lantern slides, 2" X 2" slides, 8" X 10" prints, panoramic prints, and 35 mm. and 2 1/4" X 2 1/4" negatives with corresponding contact sheet images.


Online Resources

Photos and Pictures Online

For information about the availablility of these, see Publications.

Find Descriptive Materials about the Holdings


Search in our Online Catalog

Photograph of the Robert Peary Sledge Party Posing with Flags at the North Pole, 04/07/1909. National Archives Identifier: 542472 (Still Picture Records, College Park, MD).

The Online Catalog can be used to search by media type and by subject, date, caption, etc.

  • Among the accessible resources are the majority of series descriptions covering the holdings of the Still Picture unit and digitized versions of several thousand selected photographs and posters from these holdings.

Other Resources relating to Photographs and Pictures in the National Archives

See the Publications section to find out about ordering copies of the following, as well as to find additional finding aids and guides:

  • General Information Leaflet 38: Information for Prospective Researchers About the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives (rev. 1994)

  • Pictures from the Harmon Foundation: Artworks and Art Activities

  • Broadsides and Posters from the National Archives (NARA, 1986)

  • Special List 11: List of Photographs Made by the Office of War Information at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 1945
    (1953, RG 208).


  • Special List 15: List of Photographs of Irrigation Projects of the Bureau of Reclamation (1959, RG 115).
  • The American Image: Photographs from the National Archives, 1860--1960 (Pantheon Books, 1979) and The National Archives of the United States (Abrams, 1984) are privately printed books published with the cooperation of the National Archives.

Send your request pertaining to NARA's Still Picture unit holdings to: stillpix@nara.gov

To Obtain Still Picture Reproductions

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