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19th Century Architectural Photography Collection

A photo of Merseilles, Musee des Beaux-Arts, found within the 19th Century Photography Collection.

The 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection is over 1,000 images from Russell Sturgis’ photographic collection which are primarily related to architecture and also document period travel, archaeological, and portraiture conventions.

David Hanlon inventoried the Sturgis photographic collection in 1994-1996; according to his documentation (now housed in the reference collection at the Kranzberg Art and Architecture Library), there are 15,286 prints at the West Campus Library and 19 travel albums containing 1037 prints at the Kranzberg Library for a total of 16,323 prints.

Just over half of the prints have been identified or attributed to a group of 180 specific photographers and photographic editors. This list includes many celebrated photographers such as Édouard-Denis Baldus, Charles Clifford, Robert Macpherson, Bisson Frères, Leopoldo Alinari, E. Compiègne, L. Bourgogne, Jean Pierre Philippe Lampuè, William Henry Goodyear, Ludovico Tuminello, Carlo Ponti, Domenico Bresolin, and Charles H. Winter.

About the Collection

Following Russell Sturgis’s death in 1909, Washington University, under the direction of architecture professor Frederick B. Mann, acquired his photographic collection. Intended for use as a teaching collection, the prints were mounted, blind-stamped, and classified geographically for use in architectural history and design courses.

While primarily related to architecture, these late 19th-century photographs also document period travel, archaeological, and portraiture conventions.

The albums reside in Washington University’s Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library‘s Special Collections. For an overview of the Collection, consult the Library Catalog records for David Hanlon’s Inventory of the Sturgis Photographic Collection linked below.

The Louvre, Paris, France: Building decorated with ornate pillars and statues. Photograph by Édouard Baldus, ca. 1860, from the 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection.

Digitizing the Collection

View of four drawings by Paolo Lombardi from the 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection: Angel; Virgin and child with young John the Baptist; Saint Philomena; and Virgin with chalice and cross

Digitizing the 19th Century Architectural Photography Collection renews its original purpose as a teaching collection. The project provides the first opportunity for full collaboration between the staff in Visual Resources and the Art & Architecture Library and coincides with their August 2006 move into a shared workspace in the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library. Further collaboration with the University Archivist and Digital Library Services staff ensures that copyright, preservation, and access considerations are addressed and resolved.

The breadth of the Sturgis Collection offers immediate opportunities for interested faculty to identify areas most relevant to their teaching, which, in turn, will help determine future digitization projects.

The photographs from Sturgis’ nineteen travel albums (totaling 1,037 images) have been digitized and cataloged, along with 56 photographs from the West Campus Library.