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100 Years of the Picture Collection: From Abacus to Zoology

The New York Public Library is celebrating the centennial of its Picture Collection with a new exhibition in the Wachenheim Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Since its founding in 1915, the Collection has been an unparalleled and essential resource for artists and designers, students and scholars. Boasting close to 1.5 million images, the collection comprises more than 1,500 linear feet of materials—surpassing even the height of the Empire State Building. Images are organized according to roughly 12,000 alphabetical subject headings, from “Abacus” to “Zoology,” with many more thousands of subheadings. In fact, pictures of New York City alone are broken down into more than 300 different categories. Whether you are looking for pictures of people and objects seen from behind (“Rear Views”) or cats wearing clothes (“Animals as Humans”), the Picture Collection has you covered.

November 14th, 2015 - May 15th, 2016 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Featured Video

NYPL Picture Collection: Where Do All The Pictures Come From?

Where do all the pictures come from? Billy Parrott, Managing Librarian of the Picture Collection, answers that question in this video, which is one of three in the exhibition. 



Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, and Jonathan Altman.