Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)

Digital Photography

Digital Photography links were compiled in 2002 by Margaret Kensinger, an ALIC student library technician from the College of Information Science at the University of Maryland. Updated Spring, 2009. See Bibliography of Photography Resources for a selection of related materials available in ALIC.


Digital Photograph Collections


American Cities
The selection of photographs listed on this NARA web page depicts the city, its development, and its people and their way of life from the early 19th century to recent times.

Cased Photographs Project
The Cased Photographs Project provides access to rare California pictorial documents dating from the California Gold Rush. The photographs are from the collections of the Bancroft Library and the California State Library.

Digital Collections: Print, Photograph & Original Art Collections
Portal to the Library of Virginia's digital image collections, including the Charles F. Gillette Virginia Photograph Collection, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection, the 1939 World’s Fair Photograph Collection, and more.

Free Stock
This site contains stock photographs on a wide range of topics, and includes a list of U.S. government public domain photography web sites. Most photographs included are free for personal or commercial use.

History of the American West: 1860-1920
This Library of Congress web site contains over 30,000 photographs from the holdings of the Western History and Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library. They illustrate Colorado towns and landscape, the place of mining in the history of Colorado and the West, and the lives of Native Americans from more than forty tribes living west of the Mississippi River.

LIFE Photo Archive
Collaboration between LIFE and Google has resulted in this database of millions of photographs dating from the 1860s. Researchers can search the database, or browse by time or subject.

The NYPL Picture Collection Online
The Picture Collection Online, from the New York Public Library, is an image resource site composed of 30,000 digitized images focusing on New York City, costume, design, American history and other subjects.

Picturing the Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla Tribes
The University of Oregon houses the photographs of Major Lee Moorhouse. From 1888 to 1916 he produced over 9,000 images which depict Native American life in the Columbia Basin, and particularly Umatilla County, Oregon. This site offers about two hundred and fifty pictures of the Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla tribes.

Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies
At least one likeness of each of the presidents up to Bill Clinton and most of the first ladies.

Prints & Photographs Reading Room (Library of Congress)
Access to the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division’s resources are facilitated through the use of guides, reference aids, and finding aids that summarize holdings and provide lists of images on popularly requested topics. Some offerings include digital images.

Seattle Photograph Collection
Database of photographs depicting Seattle’s neighborhoods. Subjects include recreation and entertainment, businesses, stores and restaurants, residential street scenes, and transportation. Maintained by the University of Washington Libraries.

Smithsonian Institution: Office of Imaging and Photographic Services
Portal to the vast photography collections held by the Smithsonian Institution.

U.S. Park Service Photo Galleries
Links to photo galleries on the web sites of U.S. Park Service parks, historic sites, monuments, preserves, etc. Some sites include multimedia presentations, virtual tours, and webcams.

"Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures 1850-1920
This collection by the Library of Congress includes portraits of important suffragettes and pictures of picketing, parades, and anti-suffrage displays. Cartoons of suffrage issues are also included.

Top of Page

19th Century Photography Collections

The African-American Experience in Ohio
"This selection of manuscript and printed text and images drawn from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society illuminates the history of black Ohio from 1850 to 1920, a story of slavery and freedom, segregation and integration, religion and politics, migrations and restrictions, harmony and discord, and struggles and successes."

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest
"This digital collection integrates over 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest. These resources illustrate many aspects of life and work, including housing, clothing, crafts, and more. The materials are drawn from the extensive collections of the University of Washington Libraries, the Cheney Cowles Museum/Eastern Washington State Historical Society in Spokane, and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle."

Around the World in the 1890s: Photographs from the World’s Transportation Commission, 1894-1896
The Library of Congress’ collection of nearly 900 images of transportation modes of North Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania were taken by William Henry Jackson during the 1890's.

Civil War Treasures from the New York Historical Society
The Library of Congress put together this multi-media collection of posters, photographs, and written materials drawn from the archival collections of the New York Historical Society. The materials depict the origin and impact of the Civil War.

Clarence King Surveys
This George Eastman House site features 133 images, taken by Timothy H. O’Sullivan, of the Clarence King Survey of the American West.

Cowboy Photographer: Erwin E. Smith, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Fearing the true lifestyle of the cowboy would be lost, Erwin Smith resolved to honor this tradition by presenting as realistic a portrayal as possible. His photographs, showing both the romance and hardship of cowboy life, are some of the best-known images of the southwestern range early in the last century.

Detroit Publishing Company: Photographer to the World
The Detroit Publishing Company was one of the major image publishers in the world between 1895 and 1924. Many of the company’s materials were acquired by Henry Ford in 1937, and the Henry Ford Museum holds 30,000 vintage photographic prints, 15,000 postcards, and 5,000 color and sepia lithographic prints. There are over 250 prints, photographs, postcards and documents relating to Detroit Publishing Company in this online exhibit.

Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts
This web site, created by the Massachusetts Historical Society, offers 840 digital images of visual materials that illustrate the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and the formation of the antislavery movement.

LOUISiana Digital Library Photograph Collection
There are nineteen libraries, archives, museums, and historical centers contributing to this digitial collection. These historical photographs date from mid-1800 to the early 1900’s and were taken by many of the well known photographers of the day. The database is browsable and searchable. Researchers can also gain access to materials in other media formats, such as maps, posters, and paintings.

Photographs of the American West: 1861-1912
The photographs listed in this NARA Select Catalog document the experience of the "Wild West" and are included in the records of several federal agencies, including: Bureaus of Land Management, Indian Affairs, Public Roads, Weather, Agricultural Economics, and Reclamation; the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Geological Survey, boundary and claims commissions and arbitrations, the Corps of Engineers, the Forest Service, and the Signal Corps.

Pictures of the Civil War
The War Between the States was the first large and prolonged conflict recorded by photography. This NARA web page presents over 200 photographs divided into categories such as army life, places, portraits, Lincoln’s assassination and more.

Small Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection
This web site contains 12,000 stereoscopic views of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut small towns taken between 1850-1910. Stereoscopic views are the earliest version of 3-D imagery.

Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion: 1820-1890.
A multimedia collection of materials gathered by Mystic Seaport and presented by the Library of Congress. This web site’s materials illustrate the conditions under which women and men from the East Coast of the United States migrated to California, Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Oregon and Washington by sea. Such themes as whaling, life at sea, shipping, women at sea are explored.

Wisconsin Historical Images
In addition to regional materials, the Wisconsin Historical Society also holds images of national importance, such as nineteenth century expeditionary photography, Native American images, mass communications, and social action movements, including labor and civil rights.

Top of Page

20th Century Photography Collections

Aerial Views of the Nation’s Capitol
"Smithsonian photographers Jeff Tinsley and Richard Hofmeister’s unique views of Washington’s Mall from the Capitol Hill to the Potomac."

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition
There are more than 1200 photographs from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held on the campus of the University of Washington during the summer of 1909. Images include depictions of the buildings, grounds, entertainment, and exotic attractions at the fair. The site can be searched or browsed.

America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI Collection 1935-1945
There are 160,000 black and white and 1,600 color photographs taken by government photographers with the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information on this site. The images show Americans from every part of the nation struggling against the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and later, mobilizing for World War II.

American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936
4,500 photographs depicting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century compiled by the University of Chicago Library. They were taken by by faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Botany at the University of Chicago from the 1890s to the 1930s. This collection provides a historical record, and can be used as a benchmark to document environmental changes.

Ansel Adams Photographs
This NARA web site presents photographs by Ansel Adams that were to be used to create a photo mural for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC. The theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the U.S. National Parks. The project was halted because of World War II and never resumed. The holdings of the National Archives Still Picture Branch include 226 photographs taken for this project, most of them signed and captioned by Adams. .

Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964
Carl Van Vechten’s photograph collection at the Library of Congress consists mostly of portraits of celebrities, including many from the Harlem Renaissance.

Deena Stryker Photographs
The photographs on this site were taken by Deena Stryker in Cuba between July 1963 and July 1964. Part of Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.

Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation during World War II
A collection of NARA documents and photographs relating to the internment of Japanese in the United States. A lesson plan for educators that provides a correlation between the Great Depression and American attitudes toward the Japanese is included.

Doris Ulmann Photograph Collection
Doris Ulmann (1882-1934) was born and educated in New York City, but is known for her photographs depicting the rural people of the South, particularly the mountain people of Appalachia and the Gullahs of the Sea Islands. Her primary interest was portraiture. Several years after her death in 1934, the University of Oregon took custody of her photographs, proofs, and glass-plate negatives. This site provides access to 1800 of approximately 12,000 images.

Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian: Photographic Images
A controversial collection of posed photographs taken from 1907-1930 by Edward Curtis representing " the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners." Over 2000 photo plates digitized by the Library of Congress.

Maynard L. Parker Modern Photography
Maynard L. Parker was a Los Angeles-based architectural and garden photographer. The site includes a searchable database and a selection of Parker’s work.

A More Perfect Union
This moving Smithsonian web site provides personal narrative, music, timelines, and photographs of the Japanese relocation during World War II.

National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection
This site provides access to 2,000 digitized images of Park architecture, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Native American heritage, NPS personnel, roads and transportation, scenic views, and much more.

New Deal Network
Among the many resources available on this site are the New Deal Photo Library, a photo-documentary of the impact of the Great Depression and New Deal on Carbon Hill, Alabama, and Rondal Partridge’s "California Youth" Gallery.

Panoramic: Photographs from the National Archives
A small sample of the panoramic photographs held in the Still Pictures collection of the National Archives. The photographs date from 1864-1937 and contain size description, place of origin, photographer name, and original captions.

Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933
This American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress consists of over 55,000 images of urban life captured on glass plate negatives between 1902 and 1933 by photographers employed by the Chicago Daily News. Images include Chicagoans, politicians, actors, prominent people who visited Chicago, athletes, sports teams, special events, and the news office itself.

Pictures of African Americans During World War II
The images described on this NARA web page illustrate African-American participation in World War II, and include topics such as: U.S. Army, Army Air Forces, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, women in the military, training, rest and relaxation, personalities, and the home front.

Pictures of World War II
American military photographers representing all of the armed services covered the battlefronts around the world during World War II. Every activity of the war was depicted--training, combat, support services, and much more. On the home front, the many federal war agencies produced and collected pictures, posters, and cartoons on such subjects as war production, rationing, and civilian relocation. This NARA web page contains more than 200 images.

Picturing the Century: One Hundred Years of Photography from the National Archives
A digital retrospective of the best of the National Archives still photography collections. The photographs in this online exhibit represent seminal events and everyday life in America throughout the 20th century.

Portrait of Black Chicago
John H. White’s photo documentary for the Environmental Protection Agency on conditions in Chicago during the mid-1970’s. This photo collection focuses specifically on the triumphs and tribulations of African-Americans at that time. Presented by the National Archives.

Smithsonian Photography Initiative
This web site provides a portal to a selection of the Smithsonian Institution’s extraordinary collections of photographs. There are online exhibits, such as America By Air, Freeze Frame: Eadweard Muybridge’s Photography of Motion, and Photographing History: Fred J. Maroon and the Nixon Years, 1970-1974, as well as interactive programs that allow visitors to tag photos, create their own lists, and participate in online forums.

The South Texas Border: 1900-1920
The Robert Runyon Photograph Collection of the South Texas Border Area numbers over 8,000 images of the Lower Rio Grande Valley during the early 1900’s. Includes photographs of the Mexican Revolution, the U.S. military presence at Ft. Brown and the growth and development of the Rio Grande Valley. Presesnted by the University of Texas at Austin in cooperation with the Library of Congress.

"Suffering Under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams’ Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
In a departure from his famous landscape photographs, Ansel Adams documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and the Japanese Americans interned there during World War II. Along with many portraits, Adams’ photos show daily life, agricultural scenes, and sports and leisure activities. In this exhibit, the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress presents side-by-side digital scans of both Adams’ 242 original negatives and his 209 photographic prints, allowing viewers to see his darkroom technique and in particular how he cropped his prints.

War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona
This University of Arizona photo documentary is also accompanied by brief explanations of the rationale behind the relocation effort, as well as reproductions of governmental decrees that set the effort to relocate Japanese Americans in motion. The site also links to numerous points of interest and suggestions for further study.

War Relocation Authority and the Incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II
"This collection focuses on The War Relocation Authority and The Incarceration of Japanese-Americans During World War II. It includes 14 photographs."

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement
The Online Archive of California maintains this collection. 6,834 photographs are digitized and available online.

WPA Photograph Collection: Louisiana Division
Photographs documenting the work done in Louisiana by the Works Progress Administration. Includes projects ranging from "street paving and bridge building to bookbinding and adult education".

Top of Page

21st Century Photography Collections

The Commons on Flickr
This web site aims to make publicly held photographs and photography collections accessible to a wide audience. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the project by adding tags to photos and by commenting on them. Participating institutions include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the State Library of New South Wales, the Brooklyn Museum, and more.

NASA Image eXchange (NIX)
NIX is a web-based search engine for searching one or more of NASA’s online multimedia collections consisting of photos, images, movies, videos, and audio. The database can also be browsed by several categories, such as aircraft, education, projects, and space flights.

NASA Images
This web site, created by Internet Archive, provides public access to images, video, and audio created by NASA. Images are organized by category: Universe, Solar System, Earth, Aeronautics, and Astronauts. The site also features an interactive timeline of spaceflight.

Top of Page

History of Photography

The Daguerreian Society
This historical society has created a site that offers a brief history of the daguerreotype, an extensive daguerreian bibliography, an illustrated description of the process, a look into a daguerreian materials manufactory, and many 19th and early 20th century texts. The image database contains more than 1,000 daguerreotypes that depict everything from portraits to postmortem images.

A History of Photography: From Its Beginnings until the 1920’s
This site by Robert Leggat provides an overview of the origins of photography. The site includes histories of significant people, significant photographic processes, bibliography, and an alphabetical index to key terms.

The Lions’ History: Researching World War II Images of African Americans
Barbara Lewis Burger’s article in the Summer, 1997 edition of Prologue discusses researching African Americans in World War II using the still photo collections of the National Archives, the armed services, and the Office of War Information.

Midley History of Early Photography
This web site presents academic research articles on the early history of photography published by R. D. Wood between 1970 and 1997. These articles contain information on the early history of photography, the daguerreotype and the diorama.

A Primer on Processes
The American Museum of Photography defines early photographic processes alphabetically.

Top of Page

Preservation and Care of Photographs

Preserving & Protecting Photographs: A Buyer’s Guide
This page from the American Museum of Photography web site describes how to store and protect all types of photographs.

Care, Handling, and Storage of Photographs: Bibliography
Library of Congress list of recommended books and articles concerning the preservation of photographs. Originally published by IFLA Core Programme Preservation and Conservation, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Caring for Photographs
The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works guide to caring for photographs of all sorts.

Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs
Gary Albright, Senior Photograph Conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, writes about the process of saving photographs that have gotten wet.

This site is designed to be "a concise, and easy to use guide to planning and prioritizing photo and document preservation and sharing projects for the non-professional."

NARA’s guide to caring for and preserving photographs for personal and professional collections.

Top of Page

Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272