Picture Collection

The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection can be found in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Learn more about accessing the collection.

Since its creation in 1915 as a resource for artists, illustrators, designers, teachers, students, and general researchers, The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection provides 1.5 million circulating images clipped from books and magazines across 12,000 subject headings, from clothing and dress to military battles to insects. The collection also features extensive holdings of prints, photographs, vintage postcards, and greeting cards, and around 150,000 non-circulating reference images from the early 1900s and prior. The Library has digitized 45,000 of these historic items as part of its online Digital Collections.

The Picture Collection’s unique arrangement of items into subject headings makes it useful to researchers in many creative fields, including artists; documentary filmmakers; set, prop, and costume makers for stage and film; graphic novel writers; and fashion designers. The collection has provided inspiration and insight to some of the most well-known and influential visual artists in the world—including Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, and Taryn Simon—and it continues to serve the needs of the creative community to this day.

Users may borrow up to 60 pictures at a time on any subject with a library card. Color and black & white copiers are available as well.

Highlights include:

Learn more about accessing the collection.