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Aero Service Corporation Negative Collection

Contains over 650 aerial views of the greater Philadelphia area taken primarily during the 1920s and 1930s. Views include factories and industrial sites, sports stadiums, bridges, prisons, schools, the Jersey shore, and overall views of Philadelphia. The views were all taken by Aero Service Corporation, a firm established in Philadelphia in 1919 to take advantage of the new field of aerial photography.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Photograph Album

Album containing photographs of railroad bridges and stations along the B&O Railroad's Philadelphia Division linking Baltimore and Philadelphia taken on a trip made by a small group of B&O Railroad employees who surveyed the line in March 1891. Under the supervision of Division Engineer Maintenance-of-Way William A. Pratt and Foreman of Bridges and Buildings George W. Andrews, the group set out from Baltimore riding on a hand car to inspect and photograph 78 bridges and culverts spanning rivers, creek, runs, and roads in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania; and 37 of the nearly 70 stations along the line. Images depict a variety of common railroad bridges including through truss bridges, deck truss bridges, deck plate girder bridges, pony plate girder bridges and stone arch culverts as well as images of two major bridges crossing the Susquehanna River near Havre de Grace and the Brandywine River in Wilmington. Album also documents a variety of types of small railroad stations as well as three urban railroad stations designed by Philadelphia architect Frank Furness: the Philadelphia Terminal at 24th and Chestnuts Streets, and the Water Street and Delaware Avenue Stations in Wilmington. More...

Bartlett & French Stereograph Collection

Contains 25 stereographs depicting Philadelphia streetscapes including Chestnut Street; public buildings including the State House, Post Office, and Custom House; cultural institutions including the Academy of Natural Sciences and Horticultural Hall on Broad Street; and Fairmount Waterworks. Many views are from the series, Gems of Penn’a scenery, Philadelphia and vicinity.

Bartlett & Smith Stereograph Collection

Album contains 21 stereographs depicting Philadelphia views including commercial buildings along Chestnut Street including the Jayne Building, the Continental Hotel, the United States Custom House, and First National Bank; buildings along Broad Street including the Union League, LaPierre House, and Broad Street Presbyterian Church; the Chestnut Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River; and the Wissahickon.

Frank Berry Photographic Negative Collection

Images primarily document Berry’s neighborhood in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and the nearby Wissahickon Valley, part of Fairmount Park. Contains images of scenes and buildings in Manayunk including Berry’s home on Righter Street; friends and family posed for informal portraits; children engaged in recreational activities including sledding, biking, boating, fishing, and swimming; bridges, trails, and landscapes in the Wissahickon Valley; the construction of Walnut Lane Bridge (1906-1908); and several beach scenes. Also includes images of the Historical Pageant in 1912; the Northeast Manual Training School; St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; altar decorations; a woman playing a piano; a man posed with a motorcycle; the family Christmas tree; an impromptu street band; a liquor store at 5226 Ridge Avenue; Berry with his camera; and children taking photographs.

Bisler Paper Box Factory Photograph Collection

Collection of 168 early 20th-century photograph documenting workers, facilities and machinery at the G.A. Bisler’s paper box factory at 245-255 North 6th Street in Philadelphia.

George Brightbill Postcard Collection

Collection of approximately 5400 postcards documenting Philadelphia buildings, events and street scenes from circa 1900 to 1940 collected by George D. Brightbill, digitized by Bryn Mawr College student, Cary Cuper and updated by Graphics Assistant, Linda Wisniewski. Includes inventory and a small sampling of digitized images.

John C. Bullock Lantern Slide Collection

Album consists of 182 glass lantern slides, most of which were created between 1910 and 1915 to illustrate the third edition of Charles F. Jenkins’ local history book, The Guide Book to Historic Germantown. Colonial-era mansions and landmarks along Main Street (i.e. Germantown Avenue) in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia form the bulk of the collection, but historic sites in Center City, along with a handful of rural landscape views, are also depicted.

Cased Photograph Collection

Collection consists of 275 items including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. These ca. 1840-1870 images are primarily portraits taken by Philadelphia photographers including Robert Cornelius, Marcus Root, the Langenheims, and Samuel Broadbent. The collection also contains a few Philadelphia street scenes. Each item includes a view of the recto and verso of the case (when case is present), as well as the interior image.

Centennial Photographic Company Collection

The Centennial Photographic Company was granted exclusive rights to photograph the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Company officers included President William Notman, a prominent Canadian photographer; Vice President and Proprietor Washington Irving Adams, representative of the Scovill Manufacturing Company which supplied equipment for large scale production to the company; Superintendent & Treasurer and Proprietor Edward L. Wilson, publisher of Philadelphia Photographer; and Art Superintendent John Arthur Fraser, Notman's partner in the Toronto photographic firm of Notman & Fraser. Employing over 400 men and women, the Company produced over 3,000 views of the exhibit, and portraits of officials and exhibitors.

Civil War Prints & Ephemera

Eugene Davis Philadelphia Street Railway Electrification Photograph Collection

In seventeen photographic prints, Eugene H. Davis captures the electrification of Philadelphia’s first horse railway line operated by the Frankford and Southwark City Passenger Railway Company. According to Dr. Harold E. Cox’s article, "Horse Railways of Philadelphia," in Pennsylvania Traction, the railway companies in Philadelphia started the electrification process after other American cities, beginning with the Catherine and Bainbridge Streets line on December 15, 1892. The Frankford and Southwark line followed shortly after, using electrified cars beginning in September of 1894. Davis’s photographs provide us with before and after images, showing horse cars prior to the transition, as well as electric trolleys after the railway merged to form the Electric Traction Company.

William Harvey Doering Lantern Slide Collection

William H. Doering was an amateur photographer and native Philadelphian. He fulfilled the roles of bookkeeper, treasurer, and president during his years of service at the Philadelphia architectural sheet metal firm, J.S. Thorne Company, and developed and patented devices for camera shutters.

Frankford Elevated Railway construction photographs

Progress photographs primarily depicting the progress of construction of the steel elevated structures along Front Street and Kensington Avenue. Images capture construction workers and horse-drawn vehicles carrying construction materials, as well as factories, businesses, residences and other buildings along the line.

Great Central Fair Photograph Collection

Collection of 87 photographs collected by Philadelphia antiquarian John Archibald McAllister (1822-1896) documenting the Great Central or Sanitary Fair held June 7-28,1864 on Logan Circle. The fair was one of several national fairs held during the Civil War that benefited the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a Union soldier relief organization, and featured a wide variety of art, craft, and historical exhibits.

Frederick Gutekunst Pennsylvania Railroad Stereograph Collection

Collection of 142 stereographic views documenting the Philadelphia, Middle, and Pittsburgh divisions of the Pennsylvania Railroad issued by Philadelphia photographer Frederick Gutekunst (1831-1917) circa 1875.

Alfred Hand Photographic Negative Collection

The 179 glass and film negatives Hand created between 1920 and 1921 depict historic houses, places of worship, and Revolutionary War sites in Germantown and the Philadelphia region, and are accompanied by negative sleeves with descriptive manuscript notes about each site. The sites are related to important persons in the city’s past, such as John Bartram, Dr. Casper Wister, Edgar Allen Poe and George Washington, are important as scenes of activity during the Revolution, or were photographed because of their architectural interest. Commemorative tablets and stone markers relating to the Mason Dixon Line are are also included. More...

Jackson-Cross Company Realtors Property Photograph Collection

Contains 38 views of properties owned by Jackson-Cross Company, a commercial real estate firm founded by Joseph T. Jackson in 1876. The company merged with the Cross Company in 1936, and formed the firm that operated until 1998, when Insignia Financial Group acquired the company. The collection depicts a hodge-podge of sites throughout Philadelphia, including office buildings, industrial sites, hospitals, banks, and stores and shops.

Jennings Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company Building Construction Photographs

William Jennings Photograph Collection

Inventory created by Graphics Assistant, Linda Wisniewski describing approximately 1400 early 20th-century photographs created by Philadelphia photographer William Nicholson Jennings (1860-1946) primarily documenting Philadelphia buildings and street scenes. Includes selected digital images of images of Philadelphia apartment buildings and hotels.
John Frank Keith Photograph Collection

John Frank Keith Photograph Collection

For approximately thirty years, John Frank Keith (1883-1947) traversed the streets of South Philadelphia and Kensington snapping portraits of the residents who lived there. Described as a somewhat shy and socially awkward bachelor, Keith found a way to connect with people using his camera. Starting around 1910, peaking in the mid-to-late 1920s, and continuing up to about 1940, Keith documented hundreds of working-class Philadelphians standing on sidewalks and sitting on stoops. More...

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William and Frederick Langenheim Stereographs

Life in Philadelphia Collection

The series, originally published in Philadelphia between 1828 and 1829, was issued as a set of fourteen prints that contained four caricatures of middle-class white society and ten of middle-class black society. Whereas the visual tone of the white caricatures proved jovial, the tone of the African-American caricatures embodied the racist belief that members of the black middle-class community were inept mimics of white high society. The characters are depicted with grotesque facial features, in outlandish attire, and speaking in patois and malapropisms.The original plates were issued by two publishers, William Simpson, a proprietor of a "fancy store” and Sarah Hart and Son, later Sarah Hart, stationer. Sarah Hart reprinted the entire series circa 1830. The satiric prints show scenes of courtship, society balls, modes of fashion, freemasons, and the response to the election of Andrew Jackson. The American set proved successful, and a British reprint of the series was issued in London in the early 1830s.

McAllister & Brother Church Photograph Collection

By the mid-nineteenth century, the number of houses of worship in Philadelphia had grown over ten fold in less than 100 years. As a result of this flourishing of church architecture, the prominent Philadelphia optician firm, McAllister & Brother, published from 1860 to 1863 a series of some of the earliest photographic views of religious institutions in the city. Commissioning such local photographers as John Moran, the firm provided the public with cartes de visite, stereographs, and photographic prints, many accompanied by descriptive labels, of thirty-six churches in Philadelphia, Germantown, and Elizabeth, NJ. The majority of the churches represent Protestant Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations but Baptist, Catholic, and Unitarian churches are also depicted in the library’s collection of over one hundred and ninety photographs. The photographs not only show the church exteriors designed by such prominent local architects as Robert Smith, Thomas Ustick Walter, and William Strickland, but also the interiors of the sanctuaries. These views of interiors that range in design from simple to ornate often focus on the altars, chancels, and organ lofts and occasionally include the rector at his pulpit or parishioners posed in and among the pews. The collection also contains a small number of reproductions of drawings showing Christ Church and St. Clements. Other churches depicted include Church of the Holy Trinity, First Unitarian Church, Old Swede’s Church, St. Malachy’s Church, St. Mark’s Church, and Seventh Presbyterian Church.

James McClees Philadelphia Photograph Collection

Contains 80 views of prominent residential, public, and commercial buildings that document the changing architectural landscape of the city of Philadelphia. A large number of the images in the collection show churches and educational institutions, including Seventh Presbyterian Church, Dr. Chamber’s Independent Church, the Fourth Baptist Church, Central High School, Jefferson Medical College, and the Spring Garden Institute. In addition, views of the Old London Coffee House, the Graff house, the State House, and Chestnut Street Theatre record the historic city that was becoming overshadowed by newer construction such as the Farmers and Mechanics Bank, Spring Garden Institute, and the West Philadelphia Water Works. McClees also photographed prominent residences; bridges over the Schuylkill; the aftermath of the 1856 fire at Sixth and Market streets; businesses and industries, including his daguerreotype studio; cemeteries, theaters; hotels; the Fairmount Water Works; and the Academy of Natural Sciences. A series of panoramic views of the city from the State House steeple forms the collection as well.

Marriott C. Morris Collection

Collection is comprised of over 2500 glass negatives, photographic prints, film negatives, and lantern slides taken by Philadelphia photographer Marriott C. Morris. Morris was a member of a prominent Quaker family and the son of Elliston Perot Morris and Martha Canby Morris. He married Jane Rhoads in 1897 and they had three children - Elliston Perot Morris Jr., Marriott Canby Morris Jr., and Janet Morris. Images include formal and candid portraits of the Morris family, views from family travels to Bermuda, the Poconos, and their summer home "Avocado" in Sea Girt, New Jersey. The collection also features numerous photographs of historic Germantown and other locations in and around Philadelphia, including Haverford College.

Mower Civil War Hospital Photograph Collection

Collection of 21 photographic views by Philadelphia photographer John Moran (1831-1903) depicting Mower General Hospital, a temporary Civil War hospital designed by John McArthur, Jr. located in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

Municipal Pier Construction Photograph Collection

Collection of 87 progress photographs documenting the construction of municipal piers on the Delaware River waterfront under the auspices of the Philadelphia Department of Wharves, Docks and Ferries, 1917-1921.

Henry B. Odiorne Photograph Collection

Views of commercial streets in center city Philadelphia east of 10th Street. Primarily documents Chestnut Street between 6th and 10th Streets including views from Odiorne’s photographic studio at 920 Chestnut Street showing a variety of retail businesses and several large hotels including Continental Hotel, Girard House, and Washington House. Contains views of the area near Dock Street and the Delaware River waterfront showing boarding houses, hotels, liquor stores, and oyster saloons; 5th Street near Arch including images of Garrigues & Magee Manufacturing Chemists, suppliers of photographic chemicals, and William Wilson & Son, manufacturers of silver ware; residences near 4th and Pine; and Franklin Square. Also includes images of the Market Street market sheds, and a police station.Several of the views are snow scenes.

Ogontz School for Girls Album

Album containing 210 photographs compiled by Ida F. Drew, a student at Ogontz School for Girls, documenting the 1892-1893 school year. Depicts interior and exterior views of the campus; candid and formal portraits of students, friends, and family; and views of excursions and recreational activities.

Pennsylvania Capitol Collection

One hundred and seventy-four items produced by various photographers and artists form the Pennsylvania Capitol Photograph Collection, and illustrate architect Joseph M. Huston’s painstaking attention to detail in the awe-inspiring Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa. Photographic reproductions dominate the collection, especially a series created by Philadelphia professional photographer, William Rau. The photographs, along with architectural drawings, photomechanical prints, sketches, lithographs and etchings, depict the Capitol during its construction from 1901 to 1906. Also included are the procession, speeches, and spectators at the Capitol dedication ceremony on October 4, 1906; architectural drawings created by Joseph M. Huston for the Capitol design competition; studio views of bronze light standards and sculpture created by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company and George Grey Barnard, respectively; and artistic sketches, watercolors, and paintings in a scrapbook designed by Otto H. Bacher.

Robert Redfield Photograph Collection

Contains 63 photographic prints, most of which are landscape views of creeks, streams, and fields selected for their aesthetic charm. The collection includes images of and near the Brandywine Creek and Mill Creek in Pennsylvania, Twin Lakes in Connecticut, and Mount Washington in Massachusetts. Also depicted are sheep, cows grazing and resting in open fields, wagons, dirt roads, men harvesting grain, and men and children sitting, fishing and playing near rivers and streams.

Frederick De Bourg Richards Photograph Collection

Montgomery P. Simons Philadelphia Stereograph Collection

Contains 38 stereographs depicting Philadelphia businesses, religious institutions, and public buildings and spaces. A large number of the stereographs show Fairmount Park and Water Works in addition to views of churches, including St. James the Less (East Falls) and Holy Trinity (6th and Spruce streets). Images depicting the Betsy Ross House, Custom House, the Post Office, State House, and Headhouse Market are also found in the stereographs as well as views of banks, the Apprentice Library, and the Wire Suspension Bridge at Fairmount. In addition, the collection includes panoramic views, most from the State House, but also one from the La Pierre House (Broad Street) showing Penn Square.

Frank H. Taylor Collection

Collection of over 200 prints from the Frank H. Taylor series Ever-Changing Philadelphia and Old Philadelphia issued 1915-1925. Frank H. Taylor (1846-1927), a New-York born, Philadelphia "special artist" who designed illustrations for newspapers, periodicals, and specialty publications, started his career in the field in the later 19th century at the Daily Graphic and Harper's Weekly. In the 1890s through early 1900s, he edited and illustrated Philadelphia guidebooks and directories, as well as authored and illustrated works about the Civil War, Valley Forge Park, and the Port of Philadelphia. More...

Webster Family Photograph Collection

Collection overview: Primarily captures informal portraits of the Webster and Smedley families, both well-known names within the extensive network of the Religious Society of Friends in the Philadelphia region. Includes Webster family members engaged in recreational activities, sitting in rocking chairs and hammocks on the lawn near the main house on their homestead “Stouton,” built as the country estate for Continental Army officer and Philadelphia surveyor, William MacPherson, and inhabited by the Websters beginning in 1805. The photographer’s parents, John Hambleton and Lydia Smedley Webster, resided at Stouton until the city of Philadelphia acquired MacPherson Square in 1891 and converted the mansion into a public library in 1898. The farm on the homestead is also depicted, showing outbuildings, farming activity, and the development of row homes on the periphery of the property.

George Mark Wilson Photograph Collection

Collection of 244 early 1920s photographs taken by amateur George Mark Wilson depicting the diversity of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, ethnic and religious groups, and architecture. Exhibition features 46 Wilson photographs.

World War One Graphics Collections

The World War One graphics collection consists of over 500 posters, photographs, and pieces of ephemera relating to the conflict and its immediate aftermath. The posters, predominantly issued in the United States, encourage American military enlistment, the purchase of war bonds, home front frugality, and support for relief organizations, including the Red Cross. A small number of posters relate to specific Philadelphia events. Illustrators represented in the collection include Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952), Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), and James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960). The photographs, postcards and scrapbooks are primarily from the Philadelphia region and include views of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and patriotic parades and rallies held around the city.