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Photography in Library Special Collections

Online Archive of California (OAC)

Keyword search for primary source materials in UCLA's online finding aids:


Photographic Albums

Library Special Collections holdings contain over 340 historically significant photographic albums, from the 19th and 20th centuries. California, Latin America, and the Middle East are well represented. The albums document travel; the architecture and monuments of a country; local people and customs; and events, such as parades, anniversaries, construction projects, and wars.

Resources and search strategies: 

Use UC Library Search. To search the Photographic Album Collection (Collection 94) in UC Library Search, use a keyword search in quotations “collection 94”.  Search results will display a complete list of the albums that have been cataloged.  A call number search for 094/ will retrieve a complete list of albums cataloged in numerical order.

Use an author search to search for a photographer's name. The collection contains the work of many of the great 19th century photographers such as:

  • Carlo and Giacomo Brogi (Italy)
  • J.E. Middlebrook (South Africa)
  • Eugenio Courret (Peru)
  • Antonio Beato (Egypt)
  • W. Hammerschmidt (Egypt)
  • James Valentine (Scotland)      
  • William Dobson Valentine (Norway)
  • Pascal Sebah & Polycarpe Joaillier (Turkey)
  • Isabella Bird (Iraq, Iran)
  • Alfred Capel Cure (Great Britain, Gibraltar)
  • Matthew Brady (American Civil War)

Use a subject search to search for a type of photograph or photographic process, such as:

  • Albumen prints
  • Gelatin silver prints
  • Platinum prints
  • Cartes de visite
  • Cabinet cards
  • Tintypes
  • Architectural photographs
  • Portrait photographs

Search the geographic location of the subject of the photograph e.g., Turkey—Photographs, Yosemite National Park (Calif.)—Photographs, Pasadena (Calif.)—Photographs

Records for the albums contain a detailed list of subject headings and may be searched by a multitude of topics, such as:

  • Architecture
  • Furniture
  • Monuments
  • Railroads
  • Wars
  • Armies
  • Disasters
  • City views
  • Local people
  • Local customs
  • Clothing
  • Ceremonies
  • Landscapes (Trees, Flowers, Fruits, Animals, etc.)
  • Cityscapes (Streets, Buildings, Parks, Plazas, Churches)

The sub-heading "Photographs" is always used to indicate that the resource is an original photograph.  Each album record also includes the subject heading “Photograph albums” and a subject search for this term retrieves examples of this genre.

Searching the Online Archive of California

The only search option in the OAC is by keyword. A keyword search for "collection 94" in quotations will display all cataloged albums in this collection.  Also, try similar search terms described in the previous section in UC Library Search.

Finding Albums without an Online Record

Ask a staff member for assistance to search the card catalog that is available at the reference desk on the B level of the Charles E. Young Research Library.

Selected Highlights from Collection 94

Additional Photographic Albums Outside Collection 94

Many albums also reside within the personal papers and manuscripts of other collections.  Try a keyword search that is relevant for your research topic in the Online Archive of California.

Latin American photographs and photograph albums