Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)

Digital Photography Collections

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, 2014. See Bibliography of Photography Resources for a selection of related materials available in ALIC.


NARA Resources

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.
"DOCUMERICA: Snapshots of Crisis and Cure in the 1970s"
Prologue article by C. Jerry Simmons discusses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) photodocumentary project to record changes in the American environment. The result is a collection of more than 20,000 photographs.
"From Pearl Harbor to Elvis: Images That Endure"
Prologue article by Ellen Fried describes some of the most requested photos from NARA's holdings.
"From Sophie's Alley to the White House: Rediscovering the Visions of Pioneering Black Government Photographers"
Nicholas Natanson's Prologue article about the success and obstacles encountered by black federal photographers.
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 and Graphic Works in the National Archives at College Park, MD
The web page of the Still Pictures branch of the National Archives describes the unit's holdings. It also provides links to digital photo collections.
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.
"Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project"
Bruce Bustard describes the DOCUMERICA project and what it revealed about America during the 1970s in this Prologue article.
U.S. National Archives Flickr Page
NARA has posted 206 sets of photographs to Flickr.
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." From the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.
What Do You Want to Preserve?
This NARA page includes photograph preservation information, including how to store photos, digitize photos, handle negatives, and more.


Digital Photograph Collections


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.
Chronological List of Presidents, First Ladies, and Vice Presidents of the United States
This Library of Congress site contains links to at least one likeness of each of the presidents and vice presidents, and most of the first ladies.
Denver Public Library's Western History/Genealogy Department Photographs
"Subjects include Native Americans, pioneers, railroads, mining, Denver and Colorado towns, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and the 10th Mountain Division ski troops."
Indiana Historical Society Digital Image Collections
There are more than 50,000 digital images available on this website, divided into categories such as African-American Indiana History, Lincoln, Military History, and more.
Library of Virginia's Online Photo Collections
Portal to the Library of Virginia's digital image collections, including 1939 World's Fair Photograph Collection, School Buildings Service Photographs, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection and more.
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.
"The Pageant of America" Photograph Archive
"Several thousand original and copy photographs; albumen, platinum and silver gelatin prints; 1860s-1920s. The photographs are presented in original archival order: two series, 'published' and 'unpublished' photographs, exist for each of the fifteen volumes published in the 15-volume series The Pageant of America: A Pictorial History of the United States commemorating the nation's sesquicentennial in 1926."
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.
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 Photographs
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.
U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library
This site contains over 30,000 digitized photographs from the USGS collection of over 400,000 photographs taken from 1868 to the present. The database can be searched or browsed in a number of categories such as Earthquakes and Pioneer Photographers.
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.
U.S. West: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints
"A sample of the photographs, images, albums, and more, relating to the U.S. West held by SMU's DeGolyer Library."
"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.


19th Century Photography Collections

The African-American Experience in Ohio
"This digital collection illuminates specific moments in the history of Ohio's African-Americans and provides an overview of their experiences during the time period 1850 to 1920 in the words of the people that lived them."
American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection
This site from the University Libraries of the University of Washington provides digital databases, including over 2,300 original photographs.
Civil War Treasures from the New York Historical Society
The Library of Congress hosts 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
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. From the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.
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.
Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs
This collection from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division contains nearly 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs of both Union and Confederate soldiers. "Among the rarest images are African Americans in uniform, sailors, a Lincoln campaign button, and portraits of soldiers with their wives and children."
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.
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.
World's Transportation Commission Photograph Collection
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.


20th Century Photography Collections

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.
Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives
Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs
There are over 170,000 black and white and 1,600 color photographs taken by government photographers with the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information in these two collections from the Library of Congress. 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 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. From the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress.
click! photography changes everything
This site from the Smithsonian Institution "is a collection of original essays, stories and images” contributed by experts from a spectrum of professional worlds and members of the project's online audience "that explore the many ways photography shapes our culture and our lives."
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.
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
"Edward Sheriff Curtis published The North American Indian between 1907 and 1930 with the intent to record traditional Indian cultures. The work comprises twenty volumes of narrative text and photogravure images. Each volume is accompanied by a portfolio of large photogravure plates." Presented by Northwestern University Digital Library Collections.
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 1,975 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.
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.
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.
Van Vechten Collection
Carl Van Vechten’s photograph collection at the Library of Congress consists mostly of portraits of celebrities, including many from the Harlem Renaissance.
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 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".


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 Image Galleries
This web site provides public access to images, video, and audio created by NASA.


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.
The First Photograph
An online exhibit from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas provides information about the first permanent photograph from nature taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827.
History of Photography Archive
"The History of Photography Archive is a privately owned collection of original 19th and 20th century photographs and related artifacts that traces the technical and artistic development of photography from its origins in England and France in the early 19th century up through worldwide use in the mid-20th century."
A History of Photography: From Its Beginnings until the 1920’s
This site provides an overview of the origins of photography including histories of significant people, significant photographic processes, and a bibliography.
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.


Preservation and Care of Photographs

Care and Preservation of Photographic Prints
The Henry Ford's Benson Ford Research Center provides guidelines, a bibliography, and a list of suppliers.
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.
Care of Photographs
Guidelines from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Caring for Your Treasures: 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.
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.