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World War I: Finding Images in the Library of Congress

This overview of collections in the Prints & Photographs Division that feature images relating to World War I and its aftermath, primarily 1914-20, includes sample images, search tips, and related resources at the Library and elsewhere.


Harris & Ewing, photographer. Army, U.S. Return of Washington, D.C., soldiers. 1919. Harris & Ewing Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division has more than 76,000 images depicting World War I. The pictures include a variety of formats, including photographic prints and negatives, cartoons, posters, drawings and ephemera. The images are scattered throughout the collections, so understanding the collection strengths as well as best places to search will help you focus your research on the most likely sources of relevant pictures.

Most of the material was created during the war (1914-1918), but a portion deals with post-war topics such as injured veterans, pension distribution, and the aftermath in European cities.

The Library of Congress acquired the materials through copyright deposit, gift, and purchase. In some cases, other Library of Congress units, particularly the Manuscript Division, transferred visual material to P&P for care and service.