Simultaneously a scientific technology, a device for documenting historic events, and an artistic medium, photography transgresses any easy definition or categorization. Since its invention, photography has continually evolved, and, along the way, it has profoundly changed how we understand our world and our place in it, how we remember, and how we communicate. At the SCRC historians of photography will find a wealth of material spanning from specimens of nineteenth-century photographic processes to twentieth-century photographically and photo-mechanically illustrated books. In terms of manuscript material, we hold the papers of several photographers including renowned photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White and art photographer Howard Bond. Photographic processes represented in our collection include albumen prints, glass-plate negatives, lantern slides, silver gelatin prints, and Polaroids, as well as other technologies used by contemporary photobook artists. Additionally, we hold significant runs of popular and underground periodicals that reflect the impact of photo-mechanical processes on American print culture.
Audio and Visual Materials
Many of the photography and photojournalism collections include audio and visual materials. In particular, see:
Rare Books and Printed Materials
Printed materials related to the history of photography and to photojournalism exist in many formats: illustrated books, magazines, journals, and ephemera. Notable items in our holdings include: Carleton E. Watkin's 1863 Yosemite Valley, Margaret Bourke-White's 1931 Eyes on Russia, Julia Margaret Cameron's 1893 Alfred, Lord Tennyson and His Friends, and the first edition of Robert Frank's The Americans.
Useful search terms to locate these items in the catalog include "photobook," "photomechanical," "albumen," "photographs," "pictorialism," "photography, artistic," "photo-secession," "photojournalism," "street life - photographs."
When searching the catalog, set a search limit to "Special Collections" to find materials located in the SCRC.
Search the Classic Catalog.
Programs and Events