Selected Digital Image Libraries, Collections and Museums: An Illustrated, Annotated Webliography

International Center of Photography 

Weegee at his typewriter in the trunk of his 1938 ‘Chevy’. Unidentified Photographer. ca. 1943. The International Center of Photography. Dimensions: Image: 11 15/16 x 9 3/16 in. (30.3 x 23.3 cm), Paper: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm), Mount: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm); Purchase, with funds provided by the Lois and Bruce Zenkel Purchase Fund, 1982.  Accessed September 21, 2011.

The Permanent Collection at ICP contains more than 100,000 photographs. Since its opening in 1974, ICP has acquired important historical and contemporary images through a dedicated Acquisitions Committee and through generous donations and bequests from photographers and collectors. The collection spans the history of the photographic medium, from daguerreotypes to gelatin silver and digital chromogenic prints. At present approximately 20,500 records are online. More will be accessible during the course of 2011.


Man in Telephone Skit. Herbert Cole. 1976. Asafo (Fante Military) Company. Accessed September 30, 2011.

The ARTstor Digital Library provides more than a million digital images through internet accessible software designed for teaching and research. The collections comprise contributions from international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, artists and artists’ estates.

ARTstor serves educators, curators, librarians, and students at more than 1,350 institutions including the ICP.  The ARTstor Digital Library is available by subscription through the ICP Library. The ICP has a site-wide license through the library and access is granted through the IP authentication anywhere onsite or through a membership remotely. The site licenses allow unlimited numbers of simultaneous users to access the Digital Library, both onsite and remotely.

For a subscription to ARTstor you can use remotely contact the ICP Library or stop in for a subscription and a tutorial.

The Commons on Flickr

Mr Clampett and Mr Downes. A. H. Poole Studio Photographer. A. H. Poole Studio. 1884. The Commons. Accessed September 22, 2011.

The Commons on Flickr shows images from public photography archives. This web site aims to make publicly held photographs and photography collections accessible to a wide audience. Photograph collections with “no known copyright restrictions” made available by various cultural institutions (Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and many others) and hosted by Flickr. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the project by adding tags to photos and by commenting on them so, your input and knowledge can help make these collections richer. Participating institutions include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the State Library of New South Wales, the Brooklyn Museum.

Library of Congress

Dorothea Lange. Resettlement Administration photographer, in California. 1936. The Library of Congress. Acessed September 21, 2011.

The Library of Congress American Memory focus on the history and culture of The United States. Subject titles include Advertising, African American History, Architecture, Landscape, Cities, Towns, Culture, Folklife, Environment, Conservation, Government, Law, Immigration, American Expansion, Literature, Maps, Native American History, Performing Arts, Music, Presidents, Religion, Sports, Recreation, Technology, Industry, War, Military & Women’s History.

Nasa Images

Walter Schirra. NASA Photographer. 2007. NASA. Acessed September 27, 2011. was created by Internet Archive and provides public access to images, video, and audio created by NASA. Images are organized by category: Universe, Solar System, Earth, Aeronautics, and Astronauts.

The Getty

Women With Claws, Paul Outerbridge. 1937. G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, California. Accessed September 26, 2011.

The Getty is a great place to search for certain individual photographers such as William Henry Fox Talbot, Gustave Le Ray, Roger Fenton, Julia Margaret Cameron, Carlton Watkins, Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evens, Alfred Sander, Man Ray Paul Outerbridge, and Alvarez Bravo, as well as for photojournalism and social documentary photography.  The Getty is also on flickr at

The New York Public Library

Helen Broderick as “Statue of Liberty” in As Thousands Cheer. 1933. Vandam Photo Studio. Accessed September 30, 2011.

The New York Public Library is an excellent image resource.


LIFE cover featuring The Jackson Five with their mother & father Joseph & Katherine, John Olson. 1971. Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Accessed September 27, 2011. 

Some photographs from the LIFE photo archive, from the 1750s to today are now also available through Google.



Batman and Robin in the Batmobile. 1966-1968. Bettman/Corbis. ca. Accessed September 27, 2011.

Corbis is a private Seattle based digital image service that provides photography, illustration, footage, typefaces and rights clearance services to its members who are, for the most part, online, magazines, newspaper, and  television advertisers.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

I can neither confirm nor deny The Victoria and Albert Museum’s assertion of itself as the greatest museum of art and design in world because, I have not had the pleasure of having visited myself.  But I can recommend their website as an excellent visual resource. My favorite aspect of the sight contains photographs described for blind and partially sighted visitors.

The National Media Museum

Father Christmas arrives at Selfridges by parcel post with Mickey Mouse. Woodbine, George. 1939. The National Media Museum. Accessed September 30, 2011.

The National Media Museum houses media items and artifacts of historical and cultural significance that as a whole track a technical history.  Their online selection of includes media from The National Photography, National Cinematography, National Television and National New Media Collections.

The Tibetan Album

14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso aged three.  Staunton,Harry.

The Tibetan Collections at The Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford, a favorite of our own Matthew Carson, has made around 6,000 photographs spanning 30 years of Tibet’s history available online through The Tibet Album.

George Eastman House

Untitled, from Domestic StagesLevy, Carrie. 2004. Accessed September 29, 2011.

George Eastman House images dates from the invention to the present day. Still photography collection subjects include everything from Mexican Daguerreotypes to Nineteenth Century Balloons.

The Metropolitan Museum Photographic Collections 

Climbing the Mast. László Moholy-Nagy. 1928. Accessed September 28, 2011.

The Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Photographs surveys the history of photography from its invention in the 1830s to the present. The collection of more than 15,000 works is largely European and American, with some representation of other parts of the world, particularly Japan. 

Or go analog at The Picture Collection

Mid-Manhattan Library, 3nd floor 

455 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street


The Picture Collection at the Mid-Manhattan Library is an encyclopedic visual resource arranged by subject.  Subject folders contain clippings of illustrations from books, newspapers and magazines as well as photographs, prints and postcards from 1914-present.  There is an entire file filled with a hundred years worth of images of broken objects.  It is amazing!

Or view some digital images from the Picture Collection:

Gallery Collection Guide: Mid-Manhattan Library Picture Collection
NYPL Digital Gallery 
Picture Collection Online
Historical Postcards of New York City 

Read more about the history of the Picture Collection in Worth Beyond Words: Romana Javitz and The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection.

Remember: Some of the images in the Digital Gallery may be subject to third party rights such as copyright and/or rights of privacy/publicity. Before using any of their images please review the specific digital library’s terms and conditions. To learn more about copyrights, visit: ICP LIbrary Picture Gather Resources 

5 thoughts on “Selected Digital Image Libraries, Collections and Museums: An Illustrated, Annotated Webliography”

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