Images: Paintings, Pictures, Illustrations, Photographs, Sculpture
The keyword, “Boston,” was used to search many of the online image databases listed below to give some idea of the quality and quantity of the images retrieved. Researchers usually search for a specific building, place, or work of art.
A collection of lantern slides digitized by the Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Graduate School of Design for the Library of Congress’ American Memory web site. 395 items offer views of Boston, specific buildings, parks, estates and gardens, including a complete history of Boston’s park system. Also some plans, maps, and models.
“Associated Press’ current year’s photo report and a selection of images from their vast negative and print library dating from the 1840s.”
Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955: “Boston”
67 photographs including interior views of Guild House, Jordan Marsh, Best & Co., and the Animal Rescue League.
For best results, use Advanced Search.
Boston Athenaeum Digital Collection. “These twenty-four photographs of Boston were taken in 1934 by the modernist photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991).”
Boston Athenaeum. ” Coordinated by the Boston Athenaeum, the Boston African Americana Project gathers visual and textual materials held by the Athenaeum, the Bostonian Society, Historic New England, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Digitized materials relating to African Americans fall broadly within the categories of slavery, the abolition movement, free blacks, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, rural life, urban life, social life, advertising, and depictions of men, women, and children, and consist of broadsides, caricatures, illustrations, manuscripts, pamphlets, political cartoons, portraits, and views. The database contains images and transcriptions of over five hundred items spanning the years 1770 to 1950, with the bulk of the collection falling around 1865.”
New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Boston Architecture Reference File.
Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This is “a card index of references to written descriptions, critiques, histories, illustrations, renderings and plans of Boston buildings and their architects. Most references are to published sources, although they may refer to original photographs, architectural drawings and other unpublished materials in the collections of this and other libraries.”
Boston Art Archives/New England Art Information File.
Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This file, begun in 1885 as a vertical file of ephemera on Boston artists, has expanded to cover New England artists, as well as contemporary artists across the country who are not adequately covered in reference sources. The file includes “exhibition announcements, calendars of events, gallery/organization newsletters, press releases, reviews of exhibitions, checklists and small exhibition catalogs, obituaries, illustrations, gallery histories, bibliographies on artists, and miscellaneous biographical information.” Also indexed are the records of individual artists exhibiting in shows of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the Boston Society of Independent Artists, and the Boston Art Club.
Boston Public Library. Flickr.
State Library of Massachusetts. An annotated list of resources located in public and private collections, e.g., the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Inspectional Services Department, a repository for all building permits issued from 1886 to the present.
This site provides an illustrated chronological history of the Boston Fire Department from 1600′s to 1859. The several pages on Fires, Apparatus, etc. provide links to newspaper articles and photographs. See also below “Great Fire of 1872.”
John J. Burns Library, Boston College. This collection of approximately 4,500 photographs documents various construction projects and provides candid portraits of employees at work and at company sponsored social activities. Almost 400 images, dating from 1882 to 1972, are available on the Web. The browser, Internet Explorer, must be used to retrieve images.
[Boston] Globe Insiders: From the Archives
“For 140 years, the Globe has been publishing stories and photographs chronicling life in Boston… through two world wars, the Great Molasses Flood and the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919, the Brinks Robbery of 1950, and hundreds of other historical events — those documents were clipped, annotated, and archived by Globe librarians. The library holds a trove of incredible images, some never before published, that reveal a Boston that is rarely seen.” See Boston University Commencement, May 1942 in College Commencements in Boston.
“500,000 of the 650,000 photographs in the Print Department are from the Boston Herald-Traveler Photo Morgue, the one-time working photo archive of a major Boston newspaper. The collection covers the years from ca.1906 to 1972 when the newspaper shut down and was absorbed into the present day Boston Herald. The holdings include photographs by staff photographers, photo services and contributing photographers. The Morgue is organized into both biographical and subject files on local, national and international subjects.”
Over 3,000 online photographs of Boston streetscapes and views. Search the photograph collection.
Edward Stanwood. 1873. (Internet Archive)
List of nearly 200 works of art, mainly paintings, depicting Boston scenes by well-known artists, such as Hassan and Prendergast, and less well-known artists, such as Coates and Goodwin, mainly from the 19th century. Brief catalog records providing basic information and current owner. No online images. For illustration(s) of the art work, click on its title; the record may provide a reference to illustration(s) in a journal, book, etc.
National Trust for Historic Preservation booklet with remarkable photographs of modern buildings including Boston University School of Law Tower, Boston; Sert, Jackson & Gourley, 1961, and some spectacular aerial views of the city.
Books in Boston University Libraries.
Boston Pictorial Archive.
Print Department, Boston Public Library This is the “largest public collection of photographs of Boston in earlier days.”
Boston Picture File.
Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This file consists of mounted and unmounted photographs and clippings about Boston buildings, parks, monuments, streets, etc. The material is indexed in the Boston Architecture Reference File. A postcard collection of about 1,500 items depicting Boston buildings is included.
Boston Art Commission. Map, key, and images.
Among the sets are Old Boston Photographs, Boston Stereographs, McGreevey Collection (baseball), Trustees’ McKim Construction, Boston Brewery Posters, postcards. BPL Photostream
Tufts University; places, people, moments, cowpaths, Civil War through 20th century.
Browse the Manuscript and Photograph collections by Topic Terms, Personal Names, Corporate Names, Geographic Names, and Form or Genre.
Comprehensive coverage of Allston-Brighton including history, maps and atlases, neighborhoods, etc. as well as the well-documented Photo Collection.
Built in America Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS]/Historic American Engineering Record [HAER]1933-Present: “Boston”
159 Boston properties, including private homes, commercial and municipal buildings, churches, and bridges, have been added to the collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress documenting architecture, engineering, and design accomplishments in the United States. Search also by neighborhood, e.g., <a href=”http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S?ammem/hh:@field(SUBJ%2B@od1(MASSACHUSETTS%2B%2BSuffolk%2BCounty%2B%2BROXBURY))”Roxbury” or “Suffolk County MA.” Full-text records online.
University of Washington, Digital Collections. Search city “Boston” retrieves views with descriptive material of Boston City Hall, Boston Public Library, and the Boston Company Building.
Boston Globe. “Over the course of two years, Globe photographer Suzanne Kreiter captured hidden views, seldom-seen images, and unexpected sounds around Greater Boston.” Includes audio.
City of Boston. Photos of Charlestown, Back Bay, and the Central Business District.
“Boston has the oldest city archive in the United States and has recently embarked on an ambitious program to digitize more photos, maps, and other pieces of visual ephemera. This site offers a number of thematic photo collections, including ones dedicated to public institutions, city landmarks, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and public celebrations.
…the Peter H. Dreyer collection, which was gifted to the city by this well-known photographer. The 470 images in the collection document the city during the Bicentennial and in an era when the entire Hub was a bit less gentrified. The Bridge and Ferry photographs document the city’s diverse set of engineering landmarks, along with images of the various machines and the men that crafted each of these unique structures.
Finally, the School Department area offers up historic shots of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and other notable institutions.” Review in Scout Report [KMG]
Art History Department, Boston University.
210 postcards depicting buildings, parks, etc. of Boston. See also: Greetings from Boston: Vintage Postcards, Boston Public Library.
Jeffery Howe, Boston College. Mainly recent photographs of significant buildings from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Includes a history of the landfills project and old postcard and current views of Copley Square.
David Rumsey, American Antiquarian Society. 1,059 photographs of gravestones in Boston and the neighborhoods. Click on Browser, then search by keywords=Boston. Double click on image for larger version and for additional image data (click on icon).
Library of Congress. A page from the American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920 study collection of the Harvard School of Design.
Christopher Glenn Parker. A page from a comprehensive site devoted to the life and works of Frederick Law Olmsted. Also links to short descriptions of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Franklin Park, Muddy River, and Back Bay Fens.
Kevin Matthews and Artifice, Inc. General interest site with photographs, commentary, and bibliography of 10 buildings including Fanueil Hall, 1762, 1805, 1971-1976; Hancock Place, and the New England Aquarium.
This site links to resources from the making of the documentary, “Damrell’s Fire,” for public television, April 2006. Many photographs are from the Boston Public Library’s Boston Pictorial Archive.
Search title or full text for “Boston.”
This organization was formerly SPNEA, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. It describes itself as “a museum of cultural history that collects and preserves buildings, landscapes, and objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present and uses them to keep history alive and to help people develop a deeper understanding and enjoyment of New England life and appreciation for its preservation.” Its photographic and print collections include many views of Boston buildings and street scenes.
Dover, N.H. and Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, various dates. Photographic books of Boston and its neighborhoods in the Mugar Library, Boston University, collection.
This collection offers digital images of 840 visual materials that illustrate the role of Massachusetts (especially Boston) in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and formation of the antislavery movement.
Mainly books. Use Advanced Search for best keyword results.To find books on Boston contributed by the Boston Public Library, type Boston in the title field and BPL in the contributor field.
The Kidder Smith Slide Archives on American Architecture: Massachusetts: “Boston”
M.I.T., Rotch Visual Collections. Captions and color slides of 14 Boston buildings photographed by G. E. Kidder Smith, architect,architectural photographer and author of the major survey of American architecture: Architecture of the United States: An Illustrated Guide to Notable Buildings, Open to the Public
(Mugar Ref X NA705 .S578).
Search title “Boston” yields over 275 items including paintings, sketches, and photographs, that have a Boston motif or subject. 199 images available online.
Almost 1,900 prints and stereographs.
Prints from the folder, “American History–1775,” includes depictions of the Boston Massacre, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Boston Tea Party.
Boston Public Library. Late 19th century photographs of historic sites found in the BPL in 2007. Photographers unknown; “we believe that the prints represent the work of photographers affiliated with the Boston Camera Club…”
American Memory, Library of Congress. Four views taken from the Ames Building in 1894 and 124 other scenes.
” These postcards cost 1¢ to mail. Postage was temporarily raised to 2¢ from 1917 to 1919 to cover the cost of World War I & from 1925 to 1928…”
Books in the Boston University Libraries.
by Smithsonian American Art Museum: “Boston in art work title.” 150 titles. AECI indexes “artworks exhibited in the United States and Canada up through 1876 (the Centennial year).” NO ONLINE IMAGES.
Search subject “Boston” yields 500 images, including those from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), of various buildings and scenes. Over 300 additional items are related in some way to Boston although sometimes only as the location of the item. For WPA art, search “WPA and Boston.”
Casey Ross and Marino Eccher, Boston Globe, April 7, 2010. See related links following the article.
by Benjamin Thompson, 1975. (Internet Archive)
a public private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture Catalogs
Search title keyword “Boston” yields almost 800 records of art works in public and private collections– NO ONLINE IMAGES.
Architecture Visual Resources Library, University of California, Berkeley. “SPIRO contains surrogate images of photographs and drawings from approximately 2,000 books, 200 periodical titles, and 100 postcards, posters, and calendars. SPIRO also contains surrogate representations of slides from 25 slide vendors and 220 donors.” Search LOCATION=”Boston” yields over 200 images of Boston buildings with documentation.
Boston Public Library.
Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston Digital Archives. 64 black-and-white photographs documenting construction of the first Boston Harbor tunnel, later named Sumner Tunnel which opened in 1935.
Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston Digital Archives. ”…in 1835 the Boston Aylum for Indigent Boys and the Boston Farm School Society merged and moved to the Island as the Boston Aylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys, popularly called the Boston Farm School.”
Two Hundred Views of Boston and Historical Surroundings: reproduced from the latest photographs (1907)
American Memory, Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, 1880-1920.