Collections

The Island Pagoda (detail)

With nearly a million examples, the collection tells the story of photography over two and a half centuries, helping us understand why and how pictures are made and the important role the medium has had in shaping visual culture. Rightly celebrated for rich holdings in 19th-century Asian, Native American, maritime and early American photographs, it also includes modern and contemporary art and represents hundreds of different techniques, from paper negative to digital.

The collection began with the acquisition in 1840 of Vincent Chevalier's Daguerreotype of Pont Neuf in Paris, made in 1839, the year of photography's invention. Since that time it has grown to encompass a large collection of early images, including works by pioneering photographers William Henry Fox Talbot, Southworth and Hawes and Antoine Claudet. The depth of the collection in certain areas is truly extraordinary and includes major archives such as those of Edwin Hale Lincoln, Lala Deen Dayal, and Samuel Chamberlain, the complete set of exhibition prints for Edward S. Curtis' North American Indian portfolio, more than 200 rare Civil War photographs by Matthew Brady, and a comprehensive holding of photographs of the Philippines and American Samoa. Recent acquisitions include vintage works by Diane Arbus, Nicholas Nixon and Milton Rogovin, enriching the modern and contemporary collection and complementing a handsome group of photographs by modernist master Walker Evans.

Images

Self Portrait of Childhood, 1984

Self Portrait of Childhood, 1984

Graciela Iturbide (b. 1942)
Mexico
Gelatin Silver Print

Museum purchase, 1999

Accession Number: E300407
America II, 1998

America II, 1998

Luis González Palma (b. 1957)
Gelatin silver print, oil paint and aluminum foil
49 ½ x 49 ½ in.

Gift of C. Franklin Sayre, 2007

Accession Number: E303768
Portrait of Charles W. Upham and Henry K. Oliver, about 1847

Portrait of Charles W. Upham and Henry K. Oliver, about 1847

Joseph Ropes (1812–1885)
Salem, MA
Daguerreotype

Gift of Dr. Henry K. Oliver, 1911.

Accession Number: 102937.G
Woman at Toilette, 1880

Woman at Toilette, 1880

Kusakabe Kimbei (1841–1934)
Hand -colored albumen print

Edward Morse Collection.

Bontoc Woman, Phillipines, c. 1903

Bontoc Woman, Phillipines, c. 1903

Charles Martin (1871–1953)
Gelatin silver print
9 ½ x 7 ½ in.
Samoan Woman, 1880-1889

Samoan Woman, 1880-1889

Attributed to Emma Sewall (1836–1919)
Albumen Print
9 1/4 x 7 in.

Gift of Arthur Sewall 2nd and Mrs. Loyall F. Sewall, 1960

A Royal Family, 1880–1905

A Royal Family, 1880–1905

Lala Deen Dayal (1844–1905)
Gelatin silver printing out paper print
11 ¼ x 8 ¼ in.
Accession Number: PH81
Culture of the Streets, ca.  1970

Culture of the Streets, ca. 1970

Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915)
Madras, India
Color coupler print
11 1/8 x 14 1/8 in.c

Gift, Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection, 1995.

Accession Number: E300084.18
Rock on a Pedestal of Ice, Tibet, ca. 1864

Rock on a Pedestal of Ice, Tibet, ca. 1864

Phillip H. Edgerton (b. 1824)
Albumen Print
8 ½ x 7 ¾ in.
City of San Francisco, 1870

City of San Francisco, 1870

Carleton Watkins (1829–1916)
Albumen Print
4 ¾ x 4 ¾ in
Off Beverly Shore, 1883 - 1888

Off Beverly Shore, 1883 - 1888

Edwin Hale Lincoln (1848–1938)
Platinum print
6 x 9 ¼ in
Portrait of Mr. & Mrs. Henry P. Sturgis, ca. 1852

Portrait of Mr. & Mrs. Henry P. Sturgis, ca. 1852

Antoine Francois Jean Claudet (1797–1867)
London
Hand–colored stereo daguerreotype

Gift of Mrs. Henry P. Sturgis, 1892

Accession Number: 3238
Untitled, Two Women in Malaya, 1860-1869

Untitled, Two Women in Malaya, 1860-1869

Baron Von Stillfried (1839–1911)
Albumen Print
Accession Number: PH50.68
House in China, 1950

House in China, 1950

Liang Sicheng (1901–1972)
Gelatin silver print

Museum purchase, 2008

Accession Number: PH163
Hancock, Massachusetts, 1930s

Hancock, Massachusetts, 1930s

Samuel Chamberlain (1895–1975)
Gelatin Silver Print
7 1/2 x 5 ½ in
Japanese Junks, ca. 1898

Japanese Junks, ca. 1898

T. Enami (1859–1929)
Hand–colored gelatin silver on glass
2.5 x 2.5 in.
Andaman Island, Papuans, 1869

Andaman Island, Papuans, 1869

Samuel Bourne (1834–1912), and Charles Shepherd (active 1858–1879)
Albumen Print
6 ½ x 7 ¾ in
Haschelti – Yeibichai (Navajo), 1904

Haschelti – Yeibichai (Navajo), 1904

Edward S. Curtis (1868–1952)
Gum over gelatin silver
17 11/16 x 13 in.

Gift of Dr. Charles Goddard Weld, 1906

Accession Number: PH76.4
Lower West Side, Buffalo, 1972-77

Lower West Side, Buffalo, 1972-77

Milton Rogovin (b. 1909)
Gelatin Silver Print
6 x 6 1/4 in.

Gift of William and Marilyn Braunstein, 2008

Accession Number: PH228
Pemambuco, Brazil, c. 1880

Pemambuco, Brazil, c. 1880

Charles Ripley (1842–1887)
Cyanotype
5 15/16 x 8 in.
Untitled, 1908

Untitled, 1908

Arnold Genthe (1869–1942)
Gelatin Silver Print
7 5/8 x 9 13/16 in.

Museum purchase, 2001

Accession Number: PH83
Woman and Children of the Fishing Port of Whitby, England, ca.  1890

Woman and Children of the Fishing Port of Whitby, England, ca. 1890

Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853–1941)
Albumen Print
6 x 8 in.

Gift of the Concord Free Public Library, 1949

Pont Neuf, Paris, 1839

Pont Neuf, Paris, 1839

Attributed to Vincent Chevalier (1771–1841)
Paris, France
Daguerreotype

Gift of John Burley, 1858

Accession Number: 1231
Indian Pipes, 1929–1940

Indian Pipes, 1929–1940

Miss Curtis (active 1929–1940)
Gelatin silver print
5 ¼ x 3 ½ in.

Gift of Linda Parker, 1988.

Accession Number: 24733

From the album Monotropa Uniflora.

Tattooed Man at a Carnival, MD, 1970

Tattooed Man at a Carnival, MD, 1970

Diane Arbus (1923–1971)
Gelatin Silver Print
11 9/16 x 11 5/16 in.

Gift of Richard Weening in memory of Barbara Ann Woodard, 2005

Accession Number: PH157
Island Pagoda, China, 1870–71

Island Pagoda, China, 1870–71

John Thompson (1837–1921)
Carbon Print
8 3/4x 11 3/8 in

Gift of the Estate of Mrs. Anthony Rives, 1973

Accession Number: PH26.19

From the album of Foo Chow and the River Min

Untitled, ca.  1863

Untitled, ca. 1863

Mathew B. Brady (1823–1896)
Albumen Print
8 9/16 x 13 3/16 in.
Accession Number: PH104.37
Provincetown, Mass, 1931

Provincetown, Mass, 1931

Walker Evans (1903–1975)
Gelatin Silver Print
9 7/8 x 6 5/8 in.

Gift of Joan and Clarck Worswick, 2001.

Accession Number: PH166
Cincinnati, 1980

Cincinnati, 1980

Nicholas Nixon (b. 1947)
Gelatin Silver Print
9 ¾ x 7 ¾ in

Gift of James and Margie Krebs, 2008

Accession Number: PH203
Madura, Trimul Naik’s Choultry, 1858

Madura, Trimul Naik’s Choultry, 1858

Captain Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902)
India
Albumen print from a waxed paper negative
9 9/16 x 12 3/8 in.

Museum purchase, 2001

Accession Number: PH99.2

From the Photographs of Madura, Part II series, 1858.