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Princeton's holdings include notable examples from early in the history of photography, papers of notable photographers, and collections of photographs taken at Princeton University and around the world.
Vintage photographs by Carl Van Vechten, Alexander Gardner, and Edward Steichen were given by these artists specifically to the graphic arts collection.
The University Archives maintains two major sources of photographs: The Historical Photographic Collection and the Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection.
Historical Photographic Collection
The Historical Photograph Collection is a comprehensive grouping of approximately 20,000 paper prints, cased images, and negatives from the 1840s to the present. This collection is divided into major series: Campus Life (c. 1850-1996); Class Photographs (1859-1947); Glass Plate Negatives (1880-1920); Grounds and Buildings (c. 1850-1980); Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs (c. 1905-c. 1907); Student Photograph Albums (1851-1938); and Student Photographers (1888-c. 1891). The Grounds and Buildings collection has been digitzed as a part of the library digtal initatives.
Our database will allow you to conduct a keyword search of many of these categories to retrieve a listing of photographs that meet your criteria. Information returned will include a general description of the photograph along with pertinent details such as dates, photographer, and image type, as well as the collection, box, and image number.
Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection
This photograph collection contains images used or considered for use by the publication the Princeton Alumni Weekly. The collection contains images from c. 1968 to c. 1991. The photographs are generally black and white glossy 8x10 prints; however, 5x7 prints are also found within the collection, as well as contact sheets. The photographs are arranged under general topics and then alphabetically within each subject. A finding aid is available for this collection.
To view photographs that meet you criteria, patrons are encouraged to visit the Mudd Library to request a PDF of the image(s) of interest. If a visit is not possible, the library can provide PDFs or high resolution scans of many of the images in these collection. [Note: Some restrictions may apply due to preservation concerns.]
Information on how to order images, pricing, and guidelines is available here.
The Historical Postcard Collection contains monochrome and color postcards of the Princeton University campus and buildings. The collection dates from 1900 to the 1960s. Approximately 50% of the postcards in this collection have been digitized and are available on the Library's digital initiatives site.
The Office of Development Communications Records, 1980-2000, contain photographs assembled by the office for use in publications and fundraising activities. Most of the photographs are from development-related events such as the 1995 kickoff celebration of the Anniversary Campaign. Some are reproductions of photographs found in other collections held by the Princeton University Library's Department of Special Collections.
The John W. H. Simpson Photograph Collection, 1975-1993 consists of negatives, contact sheets, and slides of Simpson's photographs of Princeton.