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New York City: Visual Resources

This guide provides resources related to New York City.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Finding Aids Search

Use the NYU Libraries Finding Aids Search to find visual materials in archival collections in NYU Libraries. 

Search across all collections or limit to the Fales Library, New York University Archives, Tamiment Library, or the New-York Historical Society.

Finding Images

Consult the Findng Images Online and in Print LibGuide to locate visual materials-- from reproductions of artworks to photographic images of just about anything imaginable.

Visual Resources

Following are just a few of the myriad sources of images of New York City. For information on finding additional sources, consult the Bobst Library research guide Finding Art Reproductions, Illustrations, & Pictures.

American Memory - Library of Congress
Free and open access through to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials are from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions and chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America.  Contains many images related to New York City. 

AP Photo Image
A subscription-based electronic library containing the Associated Press' current year's photo report and a selection of images from their negative and print library dating from the 1500s. Today, the Archive contains 700,000 photos, most of which are contemporary images made since late 1995, and grows daily as hundreds of new photos enter the Archive from AP's worldwide picture report. Photos may be downloaded or printed.  Available to the NYU community from this link.

ARTstor
A subscription database available to NYU researchers from this link containing digital images from NYU's collections along with other institutions.  The NYU collection includes more than 1,500 color posters from the United States and more than 30 countries and dating from 1904 to 1991, and 5,600 black and white images spanning the late 1930s through the early 1960s from the collection of District 65/UAW, a New York City-based labor union of warehouse, retail, and white collar workers from the collections of the Tamiment Library.  

Google Images
A vast resource of freely available images.  Use the Advanced Image Search for best results.

The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906
From the American Memory Collections of the Library of Congress, this collection contains forty-five films of New York dating from 1898 to 1906 from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress. Of these, twenty-five were made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, while the remaining twenty are Edison Company productions.

New York City Municipal Archives Gallery
The Online Gallery provides free and open research access to over 800,000 items digitized from the Municipal Archives' collections, including photographs, maps, motion-pictures and audio recordings.  The holdings are arranged by collection; or you may search "All Collections" by keyword or any of the advanced search criteria.  Patrons may order prints or digital files, and license images or film clips for commercial use.

Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s
A New York Public Library Digital Collection containing more than 54,000 New York City archival photographs (and their captioned versos) from the 1870s-1970s arranged by borough and street; the majority are exterior building views and neighborhood scenes from the 1910s-1940s.

Tax Photographs Collection, Municipal Archives of the City of New York
During the 1930s, local governments began to use photography as a tool for appraising real property for taxation purposes. New York City was the largest municipality to adopt this technology. The result was 720,000 35mm black and white images of every property in the five Boroughs. These photographs were converted to microfilm and are accessible at the Municipal Archives.

New-York Historical Society, Photographs of New York City and Beyond

The New York Historical Society is home to some of the most fascinating and extensive archives of photographs of the Boroughs and their surroundings on the web. Starting with street scenes, portraits, and landscapes from the late 1830’s, documentary images progress throughout the decades and culminate with the end of World War II. Scroll through the photographs on the landing page for some favorite images. Then click View the Collection. From there, you can continue to scroll hundreds of pictures, or use the excellent search function to narrow your options. However you choose to scout the site, these images provide insight into the ever-changing landscapes of New York City and the surrounding areas. [CNH From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2014. https://www.scout.wisc.edu].