Collection consists of lantern slides and stereographs produced by several companies: Keystone View Company, Better America Lecture Service, Incorporated, American Press Association, J. Stanley-Brown, William H. Rau, and J. F. Maertz Department Store. The lantern slides were primarily intended to be used for educational presentations about the United States, other countries, history, and society. Many of the slides and stereographs are accompanied by descriptive text and in some instances by small cards--one card for each slide--and in other instances directly on the back of a stereoview. The majority of images were taken from 1900 to 1930.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of lantern slides and stereographs primarily designed for use in audio-visual educational presentations about the United States, other countries, history, and society. Many of the slides and stereographs are accompanied by descriptive text. In some instances on small cards--one card for each slide-- and in other instances printed directly on the back of a stereoview. A few of the lantern slides, particularly the ones of the J. F. Maertz Department Store of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are advertisements for consumer products. The majority were taken from 1890 through 1930. While the collection as a whole is in good general condition, some lantern slides, stereographs, and text cards are missing, and some of the lantern slides are cracked.
The collection will appeal to researchers examining the course of nineteenth-century social history broadly, especially how lantern slides were marketed to educators to teach geography, social studies, science, history and reading. The lantern slides as artifacts will be of interest to those who study material culture.
Series 1, Keystone View Company Lantern Slides and Stereographs, undated, is divided into seven subseries: Subseries 1, #1-#600, undated; Subseries 2, H-1 to H-300; Subseries 3, Biblical, undated; Subseries 4, Santa Barbara, California, undated; Subseries 5, Roads, undated; and Subseries 6, Miscellaneous, undated.
The series depicts scenes from around the United States and the rest of the world. Each image is intended to be characteristic of its location and in most cases is accompanied by a text card that describes the scene and gives the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) of the location. Many of the glass lantern slides have corresponding stereoviews and in these instances two box numbers are given.
Subseries 1, #1-#600, undated, is arranged in order by the numbers on the image. Views #1-261 are arranged in a rough geographic order beginning in Maine and proceeding down the Atlantic Coast, through the former Confederate states, into the Midwest and Plains states, the mountain West states and the West coast, and ending in the territories of Alaska and Hawaii and the Panama Canal. Views #262-346 begin in eastern Canada, proceed across Canada and move through Mexico and Central America into the Caribbean, thence the length of South America and the Antarctic. Views #347-554 begin in the British Isles and move through Northern and Southern Europe and into Central Europe and then Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Far East. Views #556-592 begin in North Africa and cover the length of the continent and a few areas in the Pacific. The series concludes with views of several planets, President McKinley reviewing Civil War heroes (1899), and the work of a Mexican artist (1900).
Subseries 2, H-1 to H-300, undated, is arranged in order by the numbers on the image. H-1 to H-258 depict scenes and sites of American history beginning with several images of indigenous peoples and proceeding, roughly chronologically, through major events and locations to about 1925. Images H-259 to H-300 document a range of localities and activities across the country in the mid-1920s, including major buildings in Washington, D.C., industrial activities, and modern agricultural practices.
Subseries 3, Biblical, undated, shows religious art works and rural scenes.
Subseries 4, Santa Barbara, California, undated, contains two images. One is pastoral with a Franscican friar, the other a fountain.
Subseries 5, Roads, undated, includes three images of roads, one with a person on horseback, the other two depicting wagons.
Subseries 6, Miscellaneous, undated, contains lithoprint stereographs, each with a short description, depicting scenes such as landmarks in the United States; news events in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; warfare; domestic scenes and scenes of foreign countries.
This series consists of lantern slides produced by Newell Dwight Hillis' Better America Lecture Service Incorporated. Newell Dwight Hillis (1858-1929), was a noted clergyman, lecturer and author. The Better American Lecture Service sought to make better Americans and to inspire greater loyalty to American institutions. Better America Lecture Service rented the lecture manuscript and slides to churches, societies, schools, and patriotic organizations. Slides were sent in a tin box and contained suggestions for publicity arrangements. (Nevada Educational Bulletin, December 1920).
Hillis published more than twenty volumes including collections of his sermons, inspirational works, and a novel. In addition, many of Hillis addresses were published and distributed as pamphlets. The slides were intended to be used for lectures on subjects such as socialism and equality. The slides generally consist of text, drawings, images of persons, paintings, and landscapes. A few slides in each set are missing, and there is no text accompanying any of the slides. The series is arranged into twelve subseries alphabetically by topic.
Series 3, American Press Association lantern slides, undated, is divided into ten subseries: Subseries 1, General Images, undated; Subseries 2, Coffins and soliders, undated; Subseries 3, Mexican War, undated; Subseries 4, Niagara Falls Conference, undated; Subseries 5, Pancho Villa and Major Gonzales, undated; Subseries 6, Parade, undated; Subseries 7, Refugees, undated; Subseries 8, Warships, undated; Subseries 9, West Virginia Mine Explosion, undated; and Subseries 10, Women March for Votes (Suffrage), undated.
The series consists of lantern slides from the American Press Association depicting news events from early twentieth century history (e.g., Mexican War; Ludlow Colorado strike; suffragettes; Gettysburg veterans; various ship disasters). Each slide has a caption with a brief description of the scene. Many slides are cracked; one is completely broken and is in a folded paper. There are also approximately fifty slides with scenes of events associated with the Mexican-American War, most with short captions identifying the scenes. Many of these slides are cracked.
Series 4, J. F. Maertz Department Stores advertisement lantern slides, early 1920s, is divided into thirteen subseries: Subseries 1, Bathrooms, undated; Subseries 2, Children's shoes and clothing, undated; Subseries 3, Dress goods, undated; Subseries 4, Dress patterns, undated; Subseries 5, Hosiery, undated; Subseries 6, House furnishings, undated; Subseries 7, House wares, undated; Subseries 8, Ladies' Home Journal, undated; Subseries 9, Shoes, undated; Subseries 10, Store advertising, undated; Subseries 11, Underwear, undated; Subseries 12, Women's clothing, undated; and Subseries 13, Miscellaneous, undated.
The series consists of lantern slides showing advertisements used in J.F. Maertz Department Store catalogs for consumer goods. Slides are categorized by type of goods, including children's shoes and clothes, bathroom needs, dress patterns, men's wear, shoes, house furnishings, house wares, Ladies' Home Journal, and underwear.
Series 5, J. Stanley-Brown and E. H. Harriman lantern slides, undated, is divided into nineteen subseries: Subseries 1, Alaska-California scenes, undated; Subseries 2, Animal life, undated; Subseries 3, Artifacts, undated; Subseries 4, California/Franciscan life, undated; Subseries 5, California Indians, undated; Subseries 6, California mission exteriors, undated; Subseries 7, California mission interiors, undated; Subseries 8, Eskimos,undated; Subseries 9, Franciscans, undated; Subseries 10, Indians, undated; Subseries 11, Landscapes, undated; Subseries 12, Maps, undated; Subseries 13, Mission interiors, undated; Subseries 14, Seascapes, undated; Subseries 15, General images (#1-7;10), undated; Subseries 16, General images (#11-14; 16-17; 19-20), undated; Subseries 17, General images (#21-30), undated; Subseries 18, General images (#31-33; 36-40), undated; and Subseries 19, General images (#42; 45-50), undated.
The series contains lantern slides, each labeled with the names of distributors, "J. Stanley-Brown, 1318 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C. and E.H. Harriman, 1 East, 55th Street, New York." The slides, some with captions, depict maps; landscapes; seascapes; Eskimos; animal life; Franciscan dwellings; Indians of California; California missions and Franciscan life. There are slides depicting various scenes of California missions and scenes of indigenous Alaskans. Some slides are cracked.
The series consists of lantern slides and stereoviews from distributors that include the American Series; Griffith and Griffith; Pesko Binocular Company; William H. Rau Publisher; and the Universal Photo Art Company.
The stereographs related to domestic and military issues and geography are dated circa 1905, and copyrighted by H. C. White, and distrbuted by World Series.
The stereo views produced by William H. Rau, a publisher in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, show parades and other ceremonies at Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) encampments and Elks conventions held in Philadelphia. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who served in the American Civil War.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1: Keystone View Company Lantern Slides and Stereographs, undated
Subseries 1, #1-#600, undated
Subseries 2, H-1 to H-300, undated
Subseries 3, Biblical, undated
Subseries 4, Santa Barbara, California, undated
Subseries 5, Roads, undated
Subseries 6, Miscellaneous, undated
Series 2, Hillis Better America Lecture Service Lantern Slides, undated
Series 3, American Press Association Lantern Slides, undated
Subseries 1, General Images, undated
Subseries 2, Coffins and Soliders, undated
Subseries 3, Mexican War, undated
Subseries 4, Niagara Falls Conference, undated
Subseries 5, Pancho Villa and Major Gonzales, undated
Subseries 6, Parade, undated
Subseries 7, Refugees, undated
Subseries 8, Warships, undated
Subseries 9, West Virginia Mine Explosion, undated
Subseries 10, Women March for Votes (Suffrage), undated
Series 4, J. F. Maertz Department Store Advertisement Lantern Slides, early 1920s
Subseries 1, Bathrooms, undated
Subseries 2, Children's shoes and clothing, undated
Subseries 3, Dress goods, undated
Subseries 4, Dress patterns, undated
Subseries 5, Hosiery, undated
Subseries 6, House furnishings, undated
Subseries 7, House wares, undated
Subseries 8, Ladies' Home Journal, undated
Subseries 9, Shoes, undated
Subseries 10, Store advertising, undated
Subseries 11, Underwear, undated
Subseries 12, Women's clothing, undated
Subseries 13, Miscellaneous, undated
Series 5, J. Stanley-Brown and E.H. Harriman lantern slides, undated
Subseries 1, Alaska-California scenes, undated
Subseries 2, Animal life, undated
Subseries 3, Artifacts, undated
Subseries 4, California/Franciscan life, undated
Subseries 5, California Indians, undated
Subseries 6, California mission exteriors, undated
Subseries 7, California mission interiors, undated
Subseries 8, Eskimos, undated
Subseries 9, Franciscans, undated
Subseries 10, Indians, undated
Subseries 11, Landscapes, undated
Subseries 12, Maps, undated
Subseries 13, Mission interiors, undated
Subseries 14, Seascapes, undated
Subseries 15, General images (#1-7;10), undated
Subseries 16, General images (#11-14; 16-17; 19-20), undated
Subseries 17, General images (#21-30), undated
Subseries 18, General images (#31-33; 36-40), undated
Subseries 19, General images (#42; 45-50), undated
Series 6, Miscellaneous Stereographs, 1887-1907
Subseries 1, American Series, 1887
Subseries 2, C.H. Graves Publisher, 1907
Subseries 3, Griffith and Griffith, 1894
Subseries 4, Pesko Binocular Company, 1907
Subseries 5, William H. Rau Publisher, undated
Subseries 6, Domestic scenes, undated
Subseries 7, Military, undated
Subseries 8, Places-Asia, undated
Subseries 9, Places-Cuba, undated
Subseries 10, Places-Egypt, undated
Subseries 11, Places-France, undated
Subseries 12, Places-Germany, undated
Subseries 13, Places-Italy, undated
Subseries 14, Places-Monte Carlo, undated
Subseries 6.15, Palestine, undated
Subseries 6.16, Places-United States, undated
Subseries 6.17: Miscellaneous, undated
Lantern slides are hand-drawn, painted, or photographic images on glass, intended for viewing by projection; often made in sets. Photographic lantern slides were introduced in the United States by 1850 and popular through World War I; commonly 3.25 x 4 in. (9 x 10 cm.) with a black paper mask, a cover glass, and taped edges. Thesaurus of Graphic Materials
Stereographs consist of two nearly identical photographs or photomechanical prints, paired to produce the illusion of a single three-dimensional image, usually when viewed through a stereoscope. Typically, the images are on card mounts, but they take the form of daguerreotypes, glass negatives, or other processes. Stereographs were first made in the 1850s and are still made today. They were most popular between 1870 and 1920.
In 1851 stereo daguerreotypes were exhibited for the first time to the general public at the London International Exhibition (Crystal Palace). Shortly thereafter, American photographers began making stereographs. One of the first American photographic firms to produce stereographs was the team of William and Frederick Langenheim. The Library owns a set of their early stereoviews of American cities on the East Coast.
By 1860 both amateur photographers and publishing firms were making stereographs. The major stereo publishers sold their views by mail order, door-to-door salesmen, and in stores. Stereographs were sold individually and in boxed sets.
Stereographs are usually mounted. They were typically published with caption information printed under the image or on the back of the mount. The mount also provided information about the publisher, photographer, and sometimes the series or a list of views available from the photographer or publisher.
Stereographs were collected by many middle-class families in the late 19th century. People acquired stereographs of tourist sites they had visited, as well as exotic locales that they would only experience through the wonder of the stereoscope. Viewing stereographs was a common activity, much like watching television or going to the movies today. Stereoviews were also used as an education tool in classrooms.
(Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Stereograph Format)
The Division of Cultural History at the National Museum of American History assembled a collection of miscellaneous lantern slides and stereographs beginning in 1943. Other collection contents were acquired over many years in unrecorded transactions.
Several distributors and publishers of stereographic images are represented in the collection. One of the most prominent was the Keystone View Company of Meadville, Pennsylvania. Founded by Benneville Lloyd Singley (d.1938), a former Underwood & Underwood salesman, Keystone became a major distributor of stereographic images. From 1892 through 1963 it produced and distributed both educational and comic/sentimental stereoviews and stereoscopes used to see the images in 3-D. By 1905 it was the world's largest stereographic company. In 1963 Department A (stereoviews sold to individual families) and the education departments were closed, but Keystone continued to manufacture eye-training stereographic products as a subsidiary of Mast Development Company. In 1972 Mast closed the Meadville manufacturing site.
All of Keystone's manufacturing was done in Meadville, but branch offices were in New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Toronto, Canada and London, England. Salesmen and photographers were scattered around the world, and the company offered 20,000 different views.
Selling stereoviews and lantern slides to schools was a field pioneered by Underwood & Underwood, and for several years Underwood & Underwood and Keystone were competitors for the growing educational market. According to the 1953 Keystone Sales Manual the more aggressive sales methods and the more progressive editorial policies of the Keystone View Company soon made it the acknowledged leader in the industry, and Underwood & Underwood decided to give up the contest.
Between 1915 and 1921 Keystone View Company purchased the negatives of nearly all of its competitors. They also continued to have staff photographers travel the world, so that by 1935 Keystone had approximately two million stereoscopic negatives.
Keystone View Company produced stereographic sets up through the mid-twentieth century, and had a stereoscopic photographer on staff until at least 1955.
Thesaurus of Graphic Materials, (2007), http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/ (accessed February 10, 2011).
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Stereograph Format, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/stereo/background.html (accessed February 14, 2011).
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
University of California, Riverside/California Museum of Photography
George Eastman House
Brooklyn Historical Society
Donated to the Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum by Mrs. Joseph Stanley-Brown, through Mrs. Herbert Feis, in 1943.
The Division of Cultural History (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) at the National Museum of American History assembled a collection of miscellaneous lantern slides and stereographs beginning in 1943. Other collection contents were acquired over many years in unrecorded transactions. An unknown portion of the collection transferred to the Archives Center, date unknown.
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected lantern slides and stereographs must be handled with gloves.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Over two thousand stereographs (or stereoscopic photographs) are among the estimated two million documents and items of business ephemera in the Warshaw Collection. It is likely that Isadore Warshaw collected the stereographs both as examples of business advertising and as pictorial representations of commercial products, historical themes, and other subjects. Many of these stereographs contain advertisements for non-photographic businesses, as well as imprints of photographers' names and studio locations. There is also a substantial minority of items which bear no identification at all.
One group of images deserves particular note: In the section headed "New York-Albany" are approximately 125 stereographs from the Julius Wendt and Wendt Bros. studios located in Albany at the turn of the twentieth century. The subjects include street scenes, Washington Park, the state capitol building, and citizens of the area. Many of the stereographs of people in this group have biographical newspaper clippings affixed to the versos. A large number of stereographs from one studio is significant, and these images provide a fascinating document of Albany and its citizens from 1900 to 1905. Another stereograph of special interest is an advertisement for the stereoscopic photographer T. F. M. White of New Bedford, Mass., which was located in the "photography" category. This view contains text and an image, both of which yield a three-dimensional effect when viewed through a stereoscope. While these examples stand out as highlights of the collection, there are other excellent examples of the form from the 1860s through the early 1900s. Much subject matter is fairly typical of stereographs, including views of Western scenery, railroads, resorts, bridges, and street scenes. The quality of the compositions and the condition of the cards varies widely. Currently there are eleven boxes of images and over one hundred categories, as described in the Container List. More stereographs may be added if they are found elsewhere in the Warshaw Collection, and this inventory will be updated accordingly.
The stereographs are the work of many photographers and publishers from the 1860s to the 1920s; they are primarily American views of American scenes, although there is also a section of foreign views. As mentioned above, they are filed in the stereograph boxes according to their original business ephemera locations, whether in the topical or geographical series. Some categories contain only a single item, others contain many.
The Container List and the automated SIRIS catalogue of these stereographs are controlled at the sub-series level, by category title; but when there are many items in a category, the more notable images and better-known makers are identified. Most early images are silver albumen and later views are silver gelatin unless otherwise noted; "lithoprints" are photomechanical. The "See also" references indicate related images in other categories.
A stereograph consists of two nearly identical images, generally photographs, exposed as a rule simultaneously and from a distance separation of approximately two-and-one-half inches, mounted on a card and viewed, with or without the aid of a binocular viewer, to produce the simulation of three dimensions. The subject of the stereograph and its waves of popularity in the United States and elsewhere is treated in a number of books, but authoritatively and exhaustively in William Culp Darrah's monumental book, The World of the Stereograph.(1) Stereographs were manufactured and distributed commercially in large quantities by publishers for mass markets as objects of both entertainment and education, but they were also produced in smaller quantities for specialized markets. The stereograph was the dominant form of photography in the nineteenth century. Its immense popularity lasted approximately until the cinema and halftone-illustrated print media sent it into eclipse after World War I..(2)
(1)William C. Darrah's The World of the Stereograph (self-published, 1977), the most authoritative reference in stereography but long out of print, is again available, in a reprint edition issued by J. Richiuso of Land Yacht Press, Nashville, 1998.
(2)Melody D. Davis, "An essential reprint in stereography (William C. Darrah's The World of the Stereograph)," Art Journal, Fall 1998.
Originally, these stereographs were interfiled with other materials in the Warshaw Collection. It was felt that this arrangement could be damaging to the stereographs and appeared in many instances to be haphazard. Therefore, in 1991 they were rehoused to ensure their preservation, and reorganized to better facilitate their use as research tools. Whenever possible, categories from the primary Warshaw materials have been retained; however, new categories which matched typical or traditional stereograph subject arrangement were added. This method created some overlap among categories, so it is suggested that a researcher follow "see also" terms within the section descriptions. The stereographs are now organized by topical and geographical categories. Selected photographers have been indexed as well.
It may seem strange that portions of a collection should be removed from their original context, consolidated, and separated from the rest of the collection, but this was done to make the Warshaw stereographs more accessible to photographic historians and others interested primarily in documentary photographic evidence, rather than advertising imagery, trade literature, and text materials. Also, storage of the stereographs in standard document boxes posed a hazard to the material because of their size and form, especially prints on curved or "warped" mounts, which might be crushed or mishandled if filed with other items in disparate formats and sizes. Jennifer Songster-Burnett located, organized, and catalogued the majority of these stereographs as an internship project in spring 1991. The prior association of these images with Warshaw Collection topical categories was retained to ensure their continued availability to users of the Business Ephemera Vertical Files. Often cross- reference copies have been placed in the Business Ephemera boxes to indicate specific images which were refiled, and many cards are arranged according to the original category titles. A researcher with citations to stereographs in their original locations can relocate them easily in the parallel arrangement of the stereographs.
The consolidation of stereographs from all categories should enhance their utility for scholars seeking specifically photographic documentation of objects, places, and events. In the original vertical files, the stereographs' multiple topical and thematic associations were often obscured. A stereograph from the "Insurance" category, for example, depicts an architecturally distinguished insurance company building in Milwaukee, but the architectural historian might not search that category for views of buildings: among the stereographs, even the accidental or serendipitous finding of this image will be faster and easier. The project also facilitated more detailed cataloguing of these images, with considerable cross- referencing and subject descriptors in the automated database (SIRIS): for example, the insurance building, the only item in the "Insurance" category of the stereographs subdivision, has been cross-referenced under architectural descriptors, and can be accessed in this manner as well.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs restricted due to fragile condition. Researchers should consult microfilm in NMAH library for 1880-1983 editions, drawer 692.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).
Approximately 350 stereo cards of engineering subjects, such as bridges, tunnels, lighthouses, canals, quarries, etc., including both U.S. and foreign subjects.
Former curator at the National Museum of American History.
Donated to the National Museum of American History's Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering by curator Robert M. Vogel in 1986. Also included in this gift were stereographs of non-engineering subjects, which were transferred to other Museum divisions.
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.