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Latin America and the Caribbean in Photographs at the Library of Congress

Searching & Viewing

This page provides tips for searching the collections online, as well as information about viewing non-digitized material on site at the Library of Congress.

Searching and Viewing Online

Search tips:

  • Creator: In most cases, the best way to search for a specific photographer or photography studio is to conduct an "advanced search" and "search the creator/name fields". You can also browse by creator/related names.
  • Format: Many searches will retrieve non-photographic pictorial material. To focus on photographic material, include photographic (or for records made many years ago photoprints) with other search terms.
  • Geographic Location: You can search by country. Depending on what country you're researching, however, you might get up to 16,000 search results, in which case you can also try searching by city or town.
  • Time period: You can search by year, such as "1905". Many items and collections, however, are assigned a date range, such as "1900-1910", and might not appear when you search for a specific year within that range. You should try searching by decade, e.g. "1900-1910", or conduct multiple searches for all neighboring years.
  • Subject: To locate a photograph of a specific subject, you can try a basic search or conduct an "advanced search" and "search the subject fields". Many such photos, however, are part of browsing file or a larger collection that is not cataloged at the item level. Researchers should consult the tips provided in this guide in the sections on photo archives, photography browsing files, and photojournalism.

Researchers should also try searching outside the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog by using the Library-wide search system featuring some digitized content and the Library of Congress Online Catalog. While most photography of Latin America and the Caribbean is kept in the Prints & Photographs Division, some books containing photographic prints are in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, and most photobooks and books about the history of photography are in the Library's General Collections.

Viewing Non-Digitized Materials

You can view non-digitized materials described in the Selected Collections section of this research guide in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room. Some items may require advance notice to view. Be sure to follow any guidance listed in the "Access Advisory" field of the online record to submit a request. To learn how to view non-digitized materials from other divisions, please consult those reading rooms directly through their Ask a Librarian links.

Further Information