Skip to Main Content

Serbia and the Serbian Collections in the Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, 1859-1923, artist. Save Serbia our ally. Send contributions to Serbian Relief Committee of America. 1916. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

Most of the holdings related to Serbia in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room are from non-Serbian sources such as German photographic albums from the Third Reich, American news service collections, collections from prominent Americans, or the stereograph card collection.

A pertinent example of a general photographic collection with interesting Serbian content is the Photochrom Print Collection by the Photoglob Company in Zürich, Switzerland, and the Detroit Publishing Company in Michigan. These collections have images which depict landscapes, street scenes and architectural monuments, as well as military operations from World War I and associated humanitarian relief efforts. The Stereograph Card Collection also has tourist scenes and landscapes for Serbian cities. The American Red Cross Collection has many photos from World War I and the subsequent era of reconstruction of Europe, including some depicting Serbia. These collections have been digitized and are searchable on the Library of Congress website. Similarly, a partially digitized collection that is a rich source of images related to Serbia and former Yugoslavia is the New York World-Telegram and the Sun newspaper photograph collection. Images depict not only locales, but also people such as World War II fighters, both Chetniks and Partisans, including some women partisans.

Arguably the most interesting from the humanitarian point of view is the collection of images from El Shatt, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's (UNRRA) refugee camp for Yugoslavs in Cairo, photographed by the United States Office of War Information in 1944. The collection shows not only the layout and facilities of the camp, but also the faces and activities of the refugees. The refugees are shown cooking, playing cards, trying on clothes from the mass of donations, and engaging in handcrafts.

The Library of Congress holds several collections with content related to Serbia that were confiscated by United States military intelligence after World War II such as the Jugoslawien-Bulgarienfahrt des NSKK from 1937 containing 99 shots of a trip taken by the National Socialist Motor Corps through Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania. The collection of 1500 photographic prints of the Worldwide Activities of the Deutsche Akademie, 1938-1943, an organization formed to establish German study-groups in foreign countries, also has content of potential interest for those researching 20th century Serbian history. Only some of the images from these collections have been digitized. Related to World War II, but not part of the captured military material is the album of mounted photographs Druga Proleterska Brigada which has biographies and portraits of Tito and his fellow Partisans. The album depicts the fighters and some of their activities.

The collection of Visual materials from the Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman papers contains a photo album of a trip she and her husband W. Averell Harriman took to Yugoslavia in 1965. The album includes images of them meeting with Yugoslav officials and with Marshall Tito and Mrs. Broz. Amassed by another prominent American, the social reformer John Adams Kingsbury, is a fascinating collection of photos from his work in Serbia such as an album from the Health Cooperative at Pranjani (Zadružni dom zdravlja Džon Kingsburi) which show members of the cooperative, shots of the exterior and interior of the building, and staff and students helping patients. Another album is from the Nurses Training School in Beograd in 1934 with similar images. In the course of his relief activities for Serbia after World War I, Kingsbury met both Nikolaj Velimirović and Michael Pupin, and preserved a a photographic portrait of Bishop Nikolaj, as well as a photo of Pupin's dinner in honor of the Yugoslav delegates to the FIDAC (Fédération Interalliée Des Anciens Combattants) Congress in 1930.

Other collections listed under Yugoslavia also yield relevant images, for instance the collection of 37 portraits of Tito and Yugoslav leaders produced by the Telegrafnoe agentstvo SSSR. The Frank and Frances Carpenter collection offers several albums of a 1923 trip to the Balkans, one of which has over 100 shots of Serbian street scenes such as a busy marketplace, an ice cream vendor, a lemonade vendor, and even Cossacks from the White Army who had taken refuge in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Search for visual materials at the Library of Congress using the search box on the Library's home page and limit your search to "Photos, Prints, Drawings" or search in the Library's Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC).

About the Prints & Photographs Division

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..