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Photography Collections at NYPL

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Library for the Performing Arts
Billy Rose Theater DivisionJerome Robbins Dance DivisionMusic Division

Local Libraries
Jefferson Market LibraryMid-Manhattan Picture CollectionSt. George Library Center

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Prints & Photographs

Science, Industry and Business Library
General Collection Division

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Arents CollectionArt & Architecture DivisionAsian and Middle EasternBerg Collection of English and American LiteratureDorot Jewish Division • Manuscripts and ArchivesMap DivisionMilstein Division of United States History, Local History and GeneologyPforzheimer Collection of Shelly and His CirclePhotography CollectionPrint CollectionRare Books DivisionSlavic & Baltic DivisionSpencer Collection

 grand stair., Digital ID 1527016, New York Public Library Arents Collection - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The photographs in the George Arents Collection relate to, and augment, the overall subject strength of the department—that is, the history, literature, and lore of tobacco.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 300 photographs
Dates ca. 1870 - present
Formats cigarette cards, albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, counter cards, ambrotypes, tintypes
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Finding Aids NYPL Catalog
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Salle à manger, M. Guillemard, décorateur, édité par l'Atelier Primavera, Digital ID 96387, New York Public Library Art & Architecture Collection - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The Art and Architecture Collection contains photographically illustrated books, photographs and scrapbooks documenting the scope of the history of art, architecture and design, primarily in Western languages. The division also contains many early photographic publications.
Access Register through Rare Books Division
Volume approximately 2000 photographs
Dates ca. 1880s to 1970s
Formats and Processes albums, scrapbooks, gelatin silver prints, albumen prints, platinum prints, photomechanical reproductions
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View on the Tokaido beyond Odowara, Hakoni Mountains in the distance, Digital ID 118896, New York Public Library

Asian & Middle Eastern - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Access Register through Rare Books Division
Volume approximately 300 photographs
Dates ca. 1880s to 1950s
Formats and Processes albums, photographically illustrated books, albumen prints, photographic postcards, gelatin silver prints, hand-colored albumen photographs, color slides
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Gertrude Stein, New York, Jan. 4, 1935., Digital ID 483830, New York Public Library Berg Collection of English and American Literature - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The photographs in Berg are primarily portraits and snapshots of the authors whose works, in manuscript and printed form, are represented in the collection: American and British authors of the 19th to 21st century.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 2500 photographs
Dates ca. 1860s to 1970s
Formats and Processes cabinet cards, albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, platinum prints
Arrangement Printed and manuscript shelved separately; arranged alphabetically.
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Clifton Webb and Tamara Geva., Digital ID 1148371, New York Public Library Billy Rose Theatre Division - Library for the Performing Arts
The collection of photographs in the Billy Rose Theatre Division is an invaluable resource to researchers and scholars of theatre, Vaudeville, burlesque, silent film, television, radio, circus, magic, puppetry and other performance art recorded from the advent of photography to the present. Important collections include early photos of Broadway and off-broadway stage productions/musicals and notable performers, the leading NY-based stage photography studios, (Sarony, White Studios, Vandamm, Friedman/Abeles, Alfredo Valente), rare photos of Houdini, early Vaudeville photos of W. C. Fields, Chaplin, Louise Brooks, Theda Bara, Marx Brothers, Josephine Baker, Booth Family (incl John Wilkes), Buffalo Bill, Lillian Gish, Gypsy Rose Lee, and David Belasco's scrapbooks of production photos.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 2 million photographs
Dates ca. 1860 to present
Formats cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, negatives, contact sheets, chromogenic photographs
Arrangement

Arranged by size and subject.

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Wailing place of the Jews, Jerusalem, 1857, Digital ID 77002, New York Public Library Dorot Jewish Division - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The photograph collection of the Dorot Jewish Division includes early photography of Palestine by Bonfils, Saltzman and others, 19th century stereoviews, cartes-de-visit, cabinet cards, stereo views and portraits of New York Yiddish theater personalities.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 10,000 photographs
Dates ca.1860s-present
Formats and Processes Albums, stereo views, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, negatives, salted paper prints, gelatin silver prints, albumen prints
Arrangement By subject
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Looking down between Muck Lock and Man Lock showing bulkhead girders. Spring Street, June 24, 1921., Digital ID 435193, New York Public Library General Collection Division - Science, Industry and Business Library

The photograph collections at SIBL contain images relating to science, industry and business - particularly engineering and transportation. Of special note are the William Barclay Parsons collection of photographs documenting the fields of engineering, transportation and military science and the Henry George collection of scrapbooks documenting the career of the 19th century politician and economist.

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Volume approximately 1500 photographs
Dates 1860s to 1950s
Formats and Processes Albums, scrapbooks, gelatin silver photographs, albumen photographs
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 James vanDerpool, Director of New York City Commission Landmarks Preservation; Alan Burnham, American Architectural Archives; Margot Gayle, Chairman of the Clock Committee; Giorgio Cavaglieri, architect converting the building to a public library and, others., Digital ID 1252790, New York Public Library Jefferson Market Library
The photograph collection at the Jefferson Market Library primarily covers the history of the conversion of the library from a courthouse, the general history of the building and the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood.
Access By appointment
Volume approximately 300 photographs
Dates primarily 1959-present
Formats gelatin silver prints, color slides, postcards, ephemera
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Ruth St. Denis in Radha., Digital ID DEN_0016V, New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Dance Division - Library for the Performing Arts
The photographs in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division are a resource for both scholarly and personal research and have been used in exhibitions, publications, books, lectures, documentaries as well as source material for reconstructions of choreography and new work. Notable photograpers in the collection include Arnold Genthe and Carl van Vecheten.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 350,000 photographs
Dates 1860 - present
Formats and processes gelatin silver prints, chromogenic prints, slides, slides, negatives, postcards, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, scrapbooks
Arrangement The Dance Division Photo Archive is arranged by subject: Dance type; Dancer; Dance work; Dance Company; Choreographer.
Finding Aids NYPL catalog.
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  Manuscripts and Archives - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Photographs in The Manuscripts and Archives Division are included in the papers and records of individuals, families, and organizations, primarily from the New York region and support research in the political, economic, social, and cultural history of New York and the United States.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 250,000 photographs
Dates 1840s to present
Formats and Processes Albums, scrapbooks, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, gelatin silver photographs, albumen photographs, salted paper prints, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, color slides, chromogenic photographs, lantern slides
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22A - N.Y. City (Aerial Set)., Digital ID 1532642, New York Public Library Map Division - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Photographs in the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division include a large number of photostatic reproductions of sheet maps, aerial photography, salted paper print maps and mid-19th century salted paper print maps and photomechanical reproductions.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 8000 photographs
Dates ca. 1860 to
Formats and Processes albumen photographs, salted paper prints, gelatin silver prints, cyantoypes/blueprints, photostat reproductions
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9th Avenue at 48th Street and , Northwest side to South, Manhattan, Digital ID 485990, New York Public Library Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Geneology - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The photograph collections of the Milstein Division include unique images of New York City and its environs from the mid 19th century to the present time and provide primary study materials for the cultural, social, and religious history of New York City and the United States.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 57,000 photographs
Dates ca. 1870-present
Formats and Processes gelatin silver prints, albumen prints, platinum prints, cyanotypes; glass plate negatives, color negatives, 35 mm color slides, scrapbooks, albums
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Gustav Mahler., Digital ID 1947809 , New York Public Library Music Division - Library for the Performing Arts
Photographs in the Music Division document the full range of Individuals and institutions allied with the performing arts, specifically music. The collection includes portraits of musicians and their contexts, images of opera houses, opera scenes, musical instruments, and studio and candid photographs including many behind the scenes photographs of jazz and rock musicians. Important documentation of minority performers at all levels, popular and rock groups from the 1940s-1970s shed light on evolving cultural taste.
Access Request Access
Volume approximately 600,000 photographs
Dates ca. 1870s to present
Formats and Processes Gelatin silver photographs, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, albumen photographs, lantern slides, 35 mm color slides, glass negatives, digital ink jet prints.
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Photograph portrait of Caroline Sheridan Norton., Digital ID ps_cps_cd2_026, New York Public Library Pforzheimer Collection of Shelly and His Circle - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle is one of the world's leading repositories for the study of English Romanticism. The Collection was the creation of the financier Carl H. Pforzheimer, Sr. (1879-1957), who took a special interest in the lives and works of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his contemporaries, including his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her family. The photographic holdings of the include Pforzheimer's own research images documenting the life of Shelly in Italy and the family photographs of Claire Clairmont, stepsister of Mary Shelly.

Access By appointment; Request Access
Volume approximately 200 photographs
Dates ca. 1850s to 1970s
Formats and Processes Salted paper prints, albumen photographs, collodion photographs, gelatin silver photographs, framed photographs, silver dye bleach photographs.
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City Arabesque, from roof of 60 Wall Tower, Manhattan., Digital ID 482795, New York Public Library Photography Collection - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The Photography Collection was developed in 1980 when images culled from other NYPL departments and branches were brought together to form a new division based solely on the medium of photography. While the historically stated focus of the collection has been "documentary photography," the collection actually encompasses a much broader range of the medium, including images made for commercial, industrial, and scientific application as well as images for the press and other print media, the vernacular of amateur snapshot photography and original works intended for exhibition and the art market. Future collection activity and development will focus on fulfilling the department's role as the most accessible public resource in New York City for the study of photographs and the history of photography.
Access By appointment; Request Access
Volume approximately 500,000 photographs
Dates 1840s-present
Formats and Processes Mounted and unmounted photographs, albums, scrapbooks and photographically illustrated volumes, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, stereoviews, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes, digital inkjet, albumen, salted paper prints, gelatin silver photographs, chromogenic photographs, silver dye bleach photographs, dye diffusion photographs.
Arrangement Primarily by photographer. By geographic or other subject grouping where the creator is unknown.
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[Tiger.], Digital ID 823725, New York Public Library Picture Collection - Mid-Manhattan Library
An unparalleled visual resource for creative people in any medium, the Picture Collection contains original prints, photographs, posters, postcards and illustrations from books, magazines and newspapers, classified into 12,000 subject headings.
Access Users may borrow up to 60 pictures at a time on any subject with a library card.
Volume approximately 25,000 photographs
Dates ca. 1860s to 1990s
Formats and Processes Cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, gelatin silver photographs, albumen photographs, chromogenic photographs
Arrangement  By subject
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Whistler examining a proof. , Digital ID ps_prn_842, New York Public Library Print Collection - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Description
Access By Appointment; Request Access
Volume approximately 2,000 photographs
Dates ca. 1850s to present
Formats and Processes Mounted and unmounted photographs, albumen photographs, salted paper prints, gelatin silver prints, cabinet cards, artist's books
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Studio portrait of ['Canzonetta'].,To Ann Meer from Canzonnetta. 'Canzonetta' died Aug. 30th 1897, on verso., Digital ID 67SCCDV, New York Public Library Prints and Photographs - Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Photographs and Prints Division at the Schomburg Center contains both documentary and fine art photographs which reflect the African diasporan history and culture with an emphasis on the work of photographers of African descent.

Access By appointment
Volume approximately 500,000 photographs
Dates ca. 1840s-present
Formats and Processes Albums, scrapbooks, postcards, negatives, daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, lantern slides, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, stereoviews.
Arrangement Most collections arranged by AMC format.
Finding Aids Available upon request
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Mark Twain, Stormfield, December 21st, 1908., Digital ID 483423, New York Public Library Rare Books Division - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The photographs in the Rare Book Division's collections relate to, and augment, the overall strengths of the department, especially in the way of Americana and English and American literature. The department holds iconic and rare photographic works including William Henry Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature, Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War and Victor Prevost's photographs of the building of Central Park in 1862.
Access By permission; advance notice required.
Volume approximately 300 photographs
Dates 1844 to present
Formats and Processes photogravure, daguerreotypes, albumen photographs, salted paper prints, glass negatives, gelatin silver prints
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Triumfal'nyia vorota v Breste-Litovske.,Triumphant Gates in Brest-Litovsk, Digital ID 50385, New York Public Library Slavic & Baltic - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
In addition to numerous individual photographs the Slavic & Baltic collection contains more than 140 unique, presentation photograph albums from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Access Register through Rare Books Division; advance notice required
Volume approximately 6,500 photographs
Dates 19th century and early 20th century
Formats and Processes Albums, scrapbooks, salted paper prints, albumen photographs, gelatin silver photographs, cartes-de-visites, postcards, lantern slides
Arrangement  
Finding Aids Supplementary checklist at Rm. 315.
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Cystoseira fibrosa., Digital ID 419703, New York Public Library Spencer Collection - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Description
Access Spencer Collection materials are available through the Prints and Photographs Study Room (308) with 24 hours notice and a card of admission obtained from the Print Collection
Volume approximately 2,000 photographs
Dates 1843 to present
Formats and Processes albums, scrapbooks, artist's books, portfolios, cyanotypes, gelatin silver photographs
Arrangement  
Finding Aids NYPL Catalog
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St. George, Reading room, Digital ID 1167861, New York Public Library St. George Library Center
The collection documents local historical structures on Staten Island, aerial photos of SI, photos of St. George and other branch libraries and their surrounding neighborhoods over the past 100 years.
Access NYPL library card, or other ID
Volume approximately 175 photographs
Dates early 20th century to present
Formats and Processes albums, scrapbooks, gelatin silver photographs, postcards
Arrangement By subject
Finding Aids References to photos integrated into staff-created bibliographies
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