Andrew Dickson White Collection of Architectural Photographs (Cornell University Library)
Nearly 1,400 images from the Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection have been contributed to the Artstor Digital Library through Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections.
The full Dickson White collection consists of approximately 13,000 19th – early 20th century photographs of architecture, decorative arts, and sculpture. Selections represented in Artstor include European and American architecture, and decorative arts and sculpture, along with examples from the Near East and Mexico.
Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), the first president of Cornell University, helped found Cornell’s Department of Architecture in 1871, the first four-year course in the discipline 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 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. Always intended for study, White’s photographs also serve as historical records of buildings and urban spaces that have since been destroyed or altered.
Over time, as the department developed into the College of Architecture, the collection continued to grow. Professor Willard Fiske (1831-1901), Cornell University’s first librarian, made several additions, often in response to 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.
Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections Division is located in the Carl A. Kroch Library. Named for Cornell alumnus and bookseller Kroch, the library was designed for rare materials and opened in 1992. The division’s holdings include more than 400,000 printed volumes, approximately 70 million manuscripts, and 1 million + photographs, paintings, prints, and other visual media.
For other collections from the Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections digitized by Artstor and included in the Digital Library, see the Hill Ornithology Collection, and Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection.
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