Andrew Dickson White Collection of Architectural Photographs (Cornell University Library)

University College, Durham (Durham Castle) Crypt, photograph date: ca. 1865-ca., building dates: 1093-1128. Cornell University Library

Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is located in the Carl A. Kroch Library. Named for Carl A. Kroch, a Cornell alumnus and bookseller, the library was designed especially for the storage of rare materials and opened in 1992. The division's holdings include 400,000 printed volumes, over 70 million manuscripts, and more than 1 million photographs, paintings, prints, and other visual media. A number of the division's visual collections have been digitized and are now available in ARTstor, including the Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection, the Hill Ornithology Collection, and Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection.

The Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection consists of approximately 13,000 19th and early 20th century photographs of architecture, decorative arts, and sculpture. Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), the first president of Cornell University, was instrumental in the founding of Cornell's Department of Architecture in 1871, the first four-year course in architecture at an American university. He also donated his personal library of architectural books, photographs, drawings, plaster casts, and models to the fledgling department. As a collector, White amassed photographs of Medieval British, French, German and Italian architecture, as well as images of Near Eastern and Classical structures. He also acquired sets of photographs of contemporary American architecture. Even after retiring as president in 1885, White continued to purchase photographs for the department's collection, especially while traveling abroad. Always intended for student use and study, White's photographs also serve as historical records of buildings and urban spaces that have since been destroyed or extensively altered. 

Over time, as the department developed into the College of Architecture, the collection continued to grow to reflect curricular needs. Professor Willard Fiske (1831-1901), Cornell University's first librarian, made several additions, often in response to particular requests from Professor Charles Babcock (1829-1913), the first professor of architecture at Cornell. Babcock and other faculty made their own additions, expanding the collection to include modern, Renaissance, and Baroque subjects. Selections from the collection are represented in Artstor with over 1300 images of 19th and early 20th century photographs of European and American architecture, decorative arts and sculpture, along with examples from the Near East and Mexico.