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Olympic Games: Finding Pictures in the Prints & Photographs Division

This guide provides information for exploring the visual history of the Olympic Games, both summer and winter (particularly in the 1900s-1940s), by describing selected collections, search tips, and other resources at the Library of Congress and elsewhere


Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. John D. Hair's sculpture "Olympic Strength" at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 2015. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Since 1896, Olympic competition has brought together some of the world's finest athletes. The Summer Games began in 1896 and then the Winter Games 1924, each taking place every four years. Olympic Games were canceled during World War I and World War II, while the 2020 Olympic Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Olympic Games are a favorite among researchers at the Library of Congress, are referred to by many names (the Olympics, the Summer Games, the Winter Games, etc.) and can be found in many collections and research centers. This guide will help you find visual materials pertaining to the Olympic Games specifically in the Prints & Photographs Division.

The Prints & Photographs Division holds many types of Olympic images, including graphics as well as those depicting athletes, ceremonies, and pre- and post- celebrations. The bulk of these images are from the 1900s-1940s.