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The collections

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New York Public Library

All images used in the Stereogranimator can be found in the NYPL's Digital Collections platform, a living database of hundreds of thousands of digitized items from the Library's collections. The vast majority (over 41,000 items) originate in the Robert N. Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, which is physically housed in the Photography Collection in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd and 5th Avenue, New York City.

A smaller subset of material originates from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, one of NYPL's four research hubs.

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library Print Department holds nearly 2,500 stereographs, the majority of them are regional views of America, with emphasis on Boston and New England. The collection, comprised of several donations, also includes international views, comic series, and stereographs for testing stereo depth perception.

The nearly 650 Boston stereographs used in the Stereogranimator can be found in the Boston Public Library's Flickr account. These stereographs record the built environment and events from the 1850s to the first decades of the 20th century. Among the topographic and scenic views are panoramas of the city, the Great Fire of Boston (1872), the American Peace Jubilee and Music Festival (1869), and people participating in events of the day.

First produced as entertainment devices, the stereographs are reference tools for depicting buildings no longer extant; changes to Boston Harbor; modes of costume and entertainment of the era; and the importance of the Boston Common and Public Garden in enriching the lives of its citizens.

U.S. Geological Survey

The growing number of stereographs in this U.S. Geological Survey collection come from over 700 photos in the USGS Photographic Library, with a majority sourced from the Four Great Surveys of the West in the 1860s and '70s. Congress established the USGS in 1879, after abolishing the three remaining federal surveys, to continue their work in a more coordinated and efficient way. Iconic scenes from this period of U.S. expansion and exploration of the West include views of Yellowstone National Park (first national park, 1872), the Rio Grande River, travels through Colorado and Wyoming, and even flippin' flapjacks in camp.

New-York Historical Society

The collection of 731 Civil War stereographs from the New-York Historical Society's Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections covers the entire period of the Civil War, from the first Battle of Bull Run through the surrender at Appomattox, and the triumphal parade of Union forces in Washington D.C. The images include compelling depictions of death on the battlefield and the destruction of cities, railroads and bridges. There are individual and group portraits of participants, along with images of soldiers relaxing in camps, drilling in the field, and preparing for attack in trenches and other fortifications. The collection also includes images of African Americans fleeing slavery by crossing the Union lines, as well as African Americans on southern plantations and serving in the Army and the Navy. Among the photographers represented in the collection are Mathew Brady and his former employees Alexander Gardner, James Gibson, and Timothy O'Sullivan, as well as George N. Barnard, who took photographs in Virginia and the Carolinas, Sam A. Cooley, who was the 'Official Photographer' for the 10th Army Corps, and local photographers from Richmond, Gettysburg, and other locations.

U.S. National Archives

The U.S. National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but its major holdings date back to 1775. The National Archives keeps only those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value -- about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. By now, they add up to a formidable number, diverse in form as well as in content. In addition to the photographs and graphic images described above, there are approximately 9 billion pages of textual records; 7.2 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; billions of machine-readable data sets; and more than 365,000 reels of film and 110,000 videotapes. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens.

DC Public Library

The DC Public Library Stereoview Photograph Collection includes stereoscopic photographs of Washington D.C. scenes created by various photography studios and photographers from approximately 1860 to 1910. Images in the collection show district streets, architecture, landmarks, monuments, art, and people. Particularly interesting images include President Grover Cleveland at his White House desk, women volunteers of the World War I Food Administration, and a proposed monument to President Abraham Lincoln at the U.S. Capitol.

The entire DC Public Library Stereoview Photograph Collection has been digitized and published in its entirety. All images from the Stereoview Photograph Collection are in the public domain. Learn more about the collection in its finding aid on the DCPL Special Collections webpage.

Lehigh University

Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections collects, preserves, and provides access to historical collections that encompass rare books, manuscripts, and the Lehigh University archives. Special Collections holds more than 120 historical stereographs of the Lehigh campus, North and South Bethlehem, and famous buildings and structures across the United States and Canada. This collection prominently feature bridges and railroads, including many while under construction. All images used in the Stereogranimator can be found in Lehigh's Digital Library, which features additional information about the stereographs including subjects and geographic locations.

Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna

The photographic collection consists of 264 photographs of the Torresi family, views of cities and Italian locations and certain public events in a period of time ranging from 1910 to 1946. Gino Torresi, a civil servant and amateur photographer born in 1892, at Massa in Tuscany, took these pictures during holidays or special occasions for his family. The photographic collection is preserved by the Fondazione del Monte of Bologna and Ravenna in Bologna and is part of the project “Una città per gli archivi”.

National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland’s photography collection contains over 40,000 works, including the largest collection of Hill and Adamson anywhere in the world. The Hill and Adamson holdings total over 6000 photographs and this collection alone frequently attracts scholars and enthusiasts from around the world. The collection also contains over 2000 stereoscopic photographs many of which have been digitised with more to follow as part of our ongoing digitisation programme. The photography collection was established in 1984 with the aim to collect and research photography, with a particular interest in Scottish photography but with a remit to also collect the work of international photographers.


The New York Public Library offers access to a broad range of information and materials, including certain materials that may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. You should view such materials in the historical context in which they were created. All historical media are presented as specific, original artifacts, without further enhancement to their appearance or quality, as a record of the era in which they were produced. Opinions expressed on the NYPL Websites are not necessarily those of the Library or of its Trustees and staff.