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World War I: Finding Images in the Library of Congress

Searching & Viewing

Offered below are tips for finding images relating to World War I in Prints & Photographs Division collections.

As when searching for visual evidence of any broad historical event or social movement, first do some background research to identify specific events, places, individuals, and dates you hope to see depicted—as this is the type of information that is most often included in image descriptions in the online catalog. In other words, what are you hoping to find images of? Secondly, think about what kind of evidence you think these images would provide.

Searching and Viewing Online

Searching Using Card Catalogs and Browsing Files in the Reading Room

Not all images in the collections are digitized or described online. The following tools and collections may aid in finding images that are not digitized or are not described in the online catalog:

  • Biographical File: A file of photographs and prints from all eras. Images of individuals prominent during the war may be found here.
  • Biographical Index: A card index listing the location of images of individuals (there is considerable overlap with the Biographical File, but other locations are also listed).
  • Chronological Index: A card index that lists images by time periods and major events.
  • Specific Subject Photo File: Photos filed by subject headings. There is a category for World War, 1914-1918, and additional images from the era may be filed under the names of types of transportation (e.g., Airplanes), various industries, business enterprises, and types of weapons. 

If you are unable to make a visit to search these tools, you can submit an Ask-A-Librarian question.

Further Information