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Prints and Photographs Division



Graphic Journalism and Illustration
Photojournalism Collections
Documentary Surveys
Advertising and Propaganda
Pictures: Business and Art
Design Collections
Organizations' Records
Personal Papers



see caption below

Prang's aids for object teaching—The kitchen. L. Prang & Co. Copyright 1874. Prints and Photographs Division.
bibliographic record

Understanding the context in which someone originally created or collected an image is fundamental to evaluating its content and significance. The division's holdings reflect the wide variety of uses to which pictorial materials traditionally have been put:

  • to present the news or otherwise communicate visually in a journalistic context
  • to document systematically an event, era, or phenomenon, here termed “documentary surveys”
  • to advertise products, activities, or organizations
  • to educate, entertain, and satisfy the need for aesthetic expression
  • see caption below

    No more messenger boys for the National Women's Party—from president to messenger all the members of the staff are feminine. 1922 Oct. 21. Prints and Photographs Division.
    bibliographic record
  • to aid materially in the design of structures or products
  • to record the activities and associations of individuals or organizations.

Selected holdings useful for the study of women's history and culture are discussed here in terms of these categories of use (see navigator bar on the left), recognizing that there are overlaps among the categories and that a single image may often be put to multiple uses.

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