The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of photographic materials. A selection of these resources is provided below with links to the home pages for each relevant archive.
The Paris Exposition of 1900 (Exposition universelle internationale de 1900) devoted a building to matters of "social economy." The United States section of the building featured an exhibit that, according to W. E. B. Du Bois, attempted to show "(a) The history of the American Negro. (b) His present condition. (c) His education. (d) His literature." Du Bois and Thomas J. Calloway, who was named special agent for the Exposition, spearheaded the planning, collection and installation of the exhibit materials, which included 500 photographs, as well as 32 charts, numerous maps, and a display of 200 books written by African Americans.
This project contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).
The collection of African American Photographs provides almost 350 images showing African Americans and related military and social history. The Civil War era is the primary time period covered, with scattered examples through 1945. Most of the images are photographs, including 270 cartes de visites.
The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation.
Working as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), Lewis Hine (1874-1940) documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. The NCLC photos are useful for the study of labor, reform movements, children, working class families, education, public health, urban and rural housing conditions, industrial and agricultural sites, and other aspects of urban and rural life in America in the early twentieth century.
In 1954 the Library of Congress purchased from Alice H. Cox and Mary H. Evans, the daughters of Levin C. Handy approximately 10,000 original, duplicate, and copy negatives. The L.C. Handy Studio had been located at 494 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC. Levin C. Handy (1855?-1932) was apprenticed at the age of twelve to his uncle, famed Civil War photographer Mathew B. Brady (1823?-1896). The majority of the Brady-Handy negatives are of Civil War and post-Civil War portraits, with a small collection of Washington views.
Explore the faces, places and events of the U.S. Civil War through photographs, prints and drawings. The Prints & Photographs Division holds thousands of images relating to the Civil War, found in many different collections. This category allows research across those collections.
The Library's daguerreotype collection consists of approximately 600 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864. Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection.
In 1943, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), America's most well-known photographer, documented the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California and the Japanese-Americans interned there during World War II. Although a majority of the more than 200 photographs are portraits, the images also include views of daily life, agricultural scenes, and sports and leisure activities.
This collection, created primarily in the 1930s, provides more than 7,100 images showing an estimated 1,700 structures and sites in rural and urban areas of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, and to a lesser extent Florida, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Johnston’s interests resulted in vivid portrayals of the exteriors and interiors of houses, mills, and churches as well as mansions, plantations, and outbuildings.
This collection of photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company includes over 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies as well as about 300 color photolithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States.
Grabill's images capture the forces of western settlement in South Dakota and Wyoming and document its effects on the area's indigenous communities. The collection includes railroad development, coaches and wagons, mining, smeltering, and milling, freighting, emerging cities and towns, parades, cattle roundups and branding, sheepherding, prospecting, hunting, and Chinese immigrants, as well as landscapes.
The collection includes photographs, measured drawings, and written historical documentation on thousands of structures from about 1933 to the present. Search the collection to find the communities and buildings where your ancestors lived, worked, or visited.
The panoramic map was a popular cartographic form used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Known also as bird's-eye views, perspective maps, and aero views, panoramic maps are nonphotographic representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Although not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective.
Images from each of the geo-cultural regions documented in The North American Indian are represented in the collection: the Pacific Northwest, New Southwest, Great Basin, Great Plains, Plateau Region, California, and Alaska. Included are both studio and field photographs. A large number are individual or group portraits, and many subjects are identified by name. Other subjects include traditional and ceremonial dress, dwellings and other structures, agriculture, arts and crafts, rites and ceremonies, dances, games, food preparation, transportation, and scenery.
This collection contains more than 8,000 stereographs online, representing roughly 15 percent of the 52,000 stereographs produced from the 1850s to the 1940s, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1870 and 1920. The online images feature cities and towns around the world, expeditions and expositions, industries, disasters, and portraits of Native Americans, presidents, and celebrities