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Barbara Orbach Natanson, Head, Reference Section, Prints & Photographs Division
Melissa Lindberg, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division
Created: August 2019
Last Updated: January 4, 2022
The holdings of the Prints & Photographs Division document people, events, trends, and artistic and technical creativity that helped to shape the history and culture of the United States.
As integral players in the country's history and culture, women, and issues affecting them, are evident everywhere in the division's collections. You find them among its:
Researchers regularly tap the collections to illustrate publications or to supply visual content for documentary films, educational media projects, and electronic resources. Such projects take advantage of the sometimes dynamic, sometimes humorous, and frequently information-filled content of individual images. Our collecting strengths, however, also support areas of growing interest in historical scholarship, including the representation of women in the United States over time and the role American women have played in communicating about their world in visual terms.
Unique in their scope and richness, the picture collections number more than 16 million images. These include photographs, historical prints, posters, cartoons, documentary drawings, fine prints, and architectural and engineering designs. While international in scope, the collections are particularly strong in materials documenting the history of the United States and the lives, interests, and achievements of the American people..