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Found 6,985 Collections


Subject: Early Motion Picture Collection by Gatewood W. Dunston


Gatewood W. Dunston (1908-October 18, 1956) was a motion picture projectionist and later, a collector and scholar of the history of motion picture technology who bequeathed his important collection to the National Museum of American History.

Keywords: motion picture history, motion picture equipment, motion picture apparatus, motion picture images, motion picture collecting, history of collectors, movie theater history, motion picture advertising, motion picture props, mutoscope, lantern slide, motion picture film

The Dunston accession, number 212314, included 864 items, comprised primarily of 294 theater slides, 162 stereo views, 150 lantern slides, 157 films, 59 early projectors, 6 editing machines, 6 posters, over 100 photographs and a mutoscope reel. Additionally, Dunston left his correspondence relating to the collection, which offers a look at this formative period in the historiography of motion pictures. The films, many of which were on nitrate, were transferred to the Library of Congress in the 1960s, but the remainder of the material was cataloged and is found at numbers 4994-5099 in the Photographic History Collection. The Dunston collection at the National Museum of American History remains one of the most complete and important showing the evolution and history of the motion picture projector, as well as the motion picture industry and art.

Dunston worked the projection booth at the Granby and Lowe’s Theaters in Norfolk, Virginia, where he lived until his death. He was a friend of the early Western star  and actor, William S. Hart, and obtained a number of Hart films, posters and even a Civil War-era pistol used by the actor in his films. It appears that Dunston began seriously researching and collecting movie cameras, projectors and memorabilia in the early 1940s, through correspondence with film historians Merritt Crawford and Terry Ramsaye, early projectionist Francis Doublier and a number of movie personalities and machine manufacturers. He was disheartened by the deaths of many motion picture pioneers in the 1930s and 40s, and by his perception that the history of motion picture technology was fading into obscurity. Dunston collected 35mm and 16mm copies of notable silent films, old projectors and cameras, glass theater slides, a small number of mutoscope items and editing equipment as well as stereo views and optical toys. As his health deteriorated in the early 1950s, he was forced to sell off many of his films, which were on nitrate and posed a fire hazard, and he wrote a will that stipulated his collection be left to the Smithsonian National Museum’s Section of Photography, now NMAH’s Photographic History Collection.

This finding aid is one in a series documenting the PHC’s Early Cinema Collection [COLL.PHOTOS.000018]. The cinema-related objects cover the range of technological innovation and popular appeal that defined the motion picture industry during a period in which it became the premier form of mass communication in American life, roughly 1885-1930. See also finding aids for Early Sound Cinema [COLL.PHOTOS.000040], Early Color Cinema [COLL.PHOTOS.000039], Early Cinema Film and Ephemera [COLL.PHOTOS.000038] and Early Cinema Equipment [COLL.PHOTOS.000037].

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Types of Slopes

Identify as many slopes as you can from each of the 10 images. There are 4 types of slopes: positive, negative,  no slope, and undefined. Type your answers in the comments section of Google Classroom under the question. 

Misty Smith

Subject: The Photographer's Shadow


This is a sampling of photographs in which the photographer's shadow is included in the image.

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NMAH Photographic History Collection

Engaging Families through Art and Technology Programs: "Illuminating the Self"

This collection details an art and community engagement project that the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access did with educators from the National Portrait Gallery and the Fairfax County Family Literacy Program. It includes assets and resources designed to help teachers, museum educators, and community-based informal learning educators recreate the program as is, or design their own, based on the specific needs of their classroom or learning community. 

"Illuminating the Self / Illuminándonos" was a five-day bilingual program in which pairs of immigrant mothers and their middle school-aged children worked together to learn about portraiture from the 2016 exhibition of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition winning portraits. First we talked about portraiture in general, and then focused the discussion on light and shadow. Next, students took photographic portraits of each other and chose one to recreate. We projected the photographs in black and white onto a wall, and had the students trace the outlines of their photographs on their blank drawing paper. They they worked with charcoals to fill in their portraits and refine their drawings. Participants also visited the Outwin exhibition. Finally, their portraits were displayed at the National Portrait Gallery's Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day.

Program surveys indicated improved literacy, technology, and communication skills to share heritage, traditions, and talents; increased sense of empowerment and self-esteem, strengthened parent-child relationships and community bonds, and creation of a core of mentors. One mother reported that before the program she would never have entered an art museum because she wouldn't have known what to do, but that now she would not be able to pass by without stopping in. As well, several family participants have returned to the Smithsonian asking to volunteer at future Smithsonian events.

This program received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.


Philippa Rappoport

Marvels of Greece and Rome

The Greeks were famous for their skill at building,not only temples and palaces, but theatres and arenas too. They were also marvellous sculptors. The Romans copied Greek buildings and made improvements. The Romans imitated the Greeks in making lifelike figures in bronze,marble,gold and ivory. My collection contains buildings and sculptures from the Greek and Roman world and the stories behind them.

Simona-Elena Humelnicu-Christofi

WWI Artifacts

To discover how we evolved in weaponry and industrial weaponry.

Niko Rodarte Perez

Photographer: Caponigro, John Paul


This is a small sampling from more than fifty photographs and objects related to photographer John Paul Caponigro that are included in the Photographic History Collection. The collection represents the scope of Caponigro's relationship with photography and digital tools, including some early equipment (an Epson printer he beta-tested, Photoshop 3.0), demonstrations of thought processes (pastel color studies, pen and ink composition studies), postcards (sent, unsent, iPhone camera used to manipulate images), and final works on paper and metal. One work is a collaboration with his father, photographer, Paul Caponigro. Also of note, is Caponigro's portrait of Jerry Uelsmann (2005.0096.05).

Copyright held by John Paul Caponigro.

Keywords: digital photography, manipulated images, digital print, pigment print, dye sublimation on aluminum, postcards, Georgia O'Keefe, Jerry Uelsmann

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NMAH Photographic History Collection

Cameras and Apparatus: Novelty and Souvenir Cameras


This is a small sampling of toy and souvenir camera from the Photographic History Collection.

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NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Hahn, Betty


This is a collection of work by Betty Hahn and a portrait of her in the Photographic History Collection.

Keywords: gum bichromate, photographs on fabric, hand-stitching, feminist art, women and art, experimental photography
NMAH Photographic History Collection

Cameras and Apparatus: Large Format Cameras


This is a small sampling of view cameras from the Photographic History Collection. 

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NMAH Photographic History Collection

Art & Resistance 2: Black Women Subjects Free from the Gaze

Why art & resistance with Black women as subjects in a novel study of Beloved

  • This lesson may be used as a pre-reading and/ or during reading activity for a study of Toni Morrison's Beloved.  
  • The second of my eight quarter (2yr) literature course begins with the reading and critical interrogation of this Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award winning masterpiece.  
  • Since many learners carry the misperception that our world may be characterized as post-racial, they have a grossly limited view of how perceptions from so-called dominant groups may oppress racialized groups.  
  • This lesson/ collection is designed to help students construct meaning around the intersection of  Black women as creatives/ subjects in literature & art and the concept of the gaze (i.e. the white gaze in the literary canon).
  • For students who misperceive the small degree of diversity in the authors studied in their literature classes as post-racialism, it is important to acknowledge the space between where we presently are with respect where we aspire to be as prosumers of literature and art.
  • The impetus for continuing to center our literature study in resistance stems from out study of the works of Toni Morrison and her professional ethos that her "sovereignty & authority as a racialized struck immediately" in her writing while  "...not  speak[ing] for Black people;...[but]..speak[ing] to and be[ing] among [black people]".  Her determination "to make sure that the white gaze was not the dominant one in any of [her] books" is an example of the importance and power of authentic creation.

#goglobal #andersonpetty #mgg #wissit2019 #tonimorrison #blackwomen

Sher Anderson Petty

Art & Resistance: Frederick Douglass

Why art & resistance in a novel study of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

  • This lesson may be used as a pre-reading activity for a study of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.  My two year literature course begins junior year with the reading and interrogation of Douglass' Narrative.  
  • Students often have a limited view of the author, the historical context of 19th century America and especially the resistance against oppression and struggle for agency of racialized groups (like the kidnapped Africans who were stolen from their homes, trafficked and enslaved).  
  • This collection is designed to help students construct meaning around one of Douglass' many means of resistance to oppression by the careful curation of his image.

Why resistance?  

  • My rationale for centering our literature study on the concept of resistance was born from conversations with students last year that revealed their false beliefs that enslaved people (specifically the kidnapped and enslaved Africans trafficked and sold into the American Slave Trade) did not by and large resist.  There was large scale ignorance across all my classes of the scale of acts of resistance as well. 
  •  Additionally,I thought since my students are developmentally at a stage of differentiating themselves from their parents/ families (often looking like resistance to norms) that they would find relevance and resonance with a unit centered on resistance.

#goglobal #andersonpetty

Sher Anderson Petty

Subject: Pets


This an assortment of photographs of people and their pets, including a few mascots.

Keywords: cat, cats, dog, dogs, pet, pets, people and their pets, children and pets, girls, boys, mascot

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NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Abbott, Berenice


The Berenice Abbot collection at NMAH Photographic History consists of 16 silver prints ranging in size from 7 1/2” x 9 1/4” to 18 3/4” x 15,” and also includes two tall, narrow prints of Manhattan and a swinging pendulum. The photographs provide a broad survey of the work Abbott produced during her lifetime, from her early portraiture work in Paris and her “Changing New York” series to the “Physics” and “Route 1, U.S.A.” series.’

Keywords:  women photographer, documentary photography, New York City, street photography, science and photography, portraiture

During the 1920s, Berenice Abbott was one of the premier portrait photographers of Paris, her only competitor was the equally well-known Dada Surrealist Man Ray who had served as her mentor and employer before she launched her own career. An American expatriate, Abbott enjoyed the company of some of the great twentieth century writers and artists, photographing individuals such as Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim and James Joyce. One of the critical elements of Abbott’s portraiture was a desire to neither enhance nor interfere with the sitter. She instead wished to allow the personality of her subject to dictate the form of the photograph, and would often sit with her clients for several hours before she even began to photograph them. This straight-forward approach to photography characterized Abbott’s work for the duration of her career. Thematically and technically, Abbott’s work can be most closely linked to documentary photographer Eugène Atget (COLL.PHOTOS.000016), who photographed Paris during the early 1900s. Abbott bought a number of his prints the first time she saw them, and even asked him to set some aside that she planned to purchase when she had enough money. After his death in 1927, Abbott took it upon herself to publicize Atget’s work to garner the recognition it deserved. It was partly for this reason she returned to the United States in 1928, hoping to find an American publisher to produce an English-language survey of Atget’s work. Amazed upon her arrival to see the changes New York had undergone during her stay in Paris, and eager to photograph the emerging new metropolis, Abbott decided to pack up her lucrative Parisian portrait business and move back to New York. The status and prestige she enjoyed in Paris, however, did not carry over to New York. Abbott did not fit in easily with her contemporaries. She was both a woman in a male-dominated field and a documentary photographer in the midst of an American photographic world firmly rooted in Pictorialism. Abbott recalls disliking the work of both photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his then protégé Paul Strand when she first visited their exhibitions in New York. Stieglitz, along with contemporaries such as Ansel Adams and Edward Steichen, tended to romanticize the American landscape and effectively dismissed Abbott’s straight photography as she saw it. Not only was Atget’s work rejected by the Pictorialists, but a series of critical comments she made towards Stieglitz and Pictorialism cost Abbott her professional career as a photographer. Afterwards, she was unable to secure space at galleries, have her work shown at museums or continue the working relationships she had forged with a number of magazine publications. In 1935, the Federal Art Project outfitted Abbott with equipment and a staff to complete her project to photograph New York City. The benefit of a personal staff and the freedom to determine her own subject matter was unique among federally funded artists working at that time. The resulting series of photographs, which she titled Changing New York, represent some of Abbott’s best-known work. Her photographs of New York remain one of the most important twentieth century pictorial records of New York City. Abbott went on to produce a series of photographs for varied topics, including scientific textbooks and American suburbs. When the equipment was insufficient to meet her photographic needs, as in the case of her series of science photographs, she invented the tools she needed to achieve the desired effect. In the course of doing so, Abbott patented a number of useful photographic aids throughout her career including an 8x10 patent camera (patent #2869556) and a photographer’s jacket. Abbott also spent twenty years teaching photography classes at the New School for Social Research alongside such greats as composer Aaron Copland and writer W.E.B. DuBois. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Abbott’s career was the printing of Eugène Atget’s photographs, one of the few instances in which one well-known photographer printed a large number of negatives made by another well-known photographer. The struggle to get Atget’s photographs the recognition they deserved was similar to Abbott’s efforts to chart her own path by bringing documentary photography to the fore in a Pictorialist dominated America. Though she experienced varying levels of rejection and trials in both efforts, her perseverance placed her in the position she now holds as one of the great photographers of the twentieth century.

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Bordwell, Sally


This collection is small selection of work by photographer Sally Bordwell and author Lesley Sussman. Together, they traveled with carnivals through the south in the early 1970s.  The collection includes contact sheet for the 35mm film negatives.

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Keywords, carnival, carnival games, midway games, carnies, carnival rides, traveling carnival, freak show, frog eater, tattooed lady, snake charmer, sideshow, clown

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Collier, Bonnie


This is a collection of work by Bonnie Collier.

Copyright Bonnie Collier

Keywords: digital photography, landscape photography, manipulated photography, women photographer, combination photography, art photography

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Cunningham, Imogen


The Imogen Cunningham collection consists of thirty gelatin silver photographs, mounted, with label, signed and dated by the photographer, and three platinum prints, mounted and labeled. The subjects in the thirty gelatin silver photographs range from plants to portraiture between 1925 and 1968. The three platinum prints were made in 1912 and are representative of Cunningham’s pictorialist style. They were acquired from the photographer in 1968.

Keywords: art photography, women photographers, self-portrait, portraits of photographers, Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz

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The photographs were used in a Smithsonian exhibition titled, “Women, Cameras, and Images I,” November 30, 1968-May 30, 1969, in the Hall of Photography, Museum of History and Technology. The exhibition also included thirty additional photographs lent by Imogen Cunningham, and five lent from the Library of Congress. The “Women, Cameras, and Images” exhibition was a series of five exhibitions featuring the work of female photographers: Cunningham, Betty Hahn, Gayle Smalley, Barbara Morgan, and Janine Niepce.

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Greenfield, Lauren


This is a collection of work by Lauren Greenfield from the Photographic History Collection. 

Copyright Lauren Greenfield.

Keywords: women, girls, body image, body shaming, women's health, women's mental health, eating disorders

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Noggle, Anne


This is a collection of four panorama photographs by photographer Anne Noggle made in the 1960s of a kitchen, a cafe lunch counter, a row of mailboxes, and a neighborhood street corner.  

Keywords: women, aging, panoramic photo, panorama photography, neighborhood, mailboxes

Anne Noggle was born in 1922 in Evanston, IL and spent her formative years living there with her mother and sister—two women who would become important characters in Noggle’s photography. 

Prior to her photography career, Noggle led a markedly different life.  In 1940, with her student pilot license in hand, Anne Noggle became a pilot and eventually a flight instructor as a Women’s Air Force Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II.  At the conclusion of the war, Anne taught flying, joined an aerial circus, and worked as a crop duster.  Art grabbed Noggle’s attention while she was on active duty in the air force in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Stationed in Paris, she spent much of her free time at the Louvre.  Forced into early retirement due to emphysema caused by crop dusting, Noggle registered for college as an art history major at the University of New Mexico in 1959.  She was thirty-eight years old. 

Anne Noggle’s early photographs utilize the 35mm Panon camera.  Most of these 140° photographs are of an aging woman and her surroundings.  In Janice Zita Grover’s introduction to Silver Lining:  Photographs by Anne Noggle, she writes, about the panoramic format, that it is characteristic “to distort space in such a way that subjects distant from the lens appear flattened against deep space; between this effect and the necessity for reading the image side to side, the format gets as close as the still camera can to the implied narrative unfolding of a panoramic opening shot in a film . Noggle’s Panon images of her mother’s circle in Santa Fe have exactly these qualities, as if a newly landed observer…were scrutinizing these women, their curious rites and settings, for the first time.” 

By the early 1970s, however, Noggle moved on to wide-angle portraits featuring herself, her mother, sister, and her mother’s friends.  It is for these photographs that Noggle is most known.  Her interest in women and the aging process is exemplified by self-portraits of Noggle’s own face-lifts and images of her aging body. 

Noggle has been granted two NEA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Major holdings of Anne Noggle’s work can be found at:  the Northlight Gallery at Arizona State University, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of New Mexico—University Art Museum, and the Museum of New Mexico Photographic Archives.  In Washington, DC, American Art has one photograph from Noggle’s Agnes series of two women playing croquet.

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Mather, Margarethe


The Margarethe Mather NMAH Photographic History Collection consists of five platinum print photographs from the 1920s. Photographer Margrethe Mather was a model and source of inspiration for Edward Weston and an established pictorialist and a pioneering modernist in her own right.

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Keywords: women photographers, Pictorialism, platinum photography, palladium photography, Pierrot

NMAH Photographic History Collection

Photographer: Walker, Diana


The Diana Walker collection at the NMAH Photographic History Department consists of 140 photographs reflecting her career as a photojournalist.  These include her tenure as a TIME Magazine photographer at the White House from 1984-2004, as well as other assignments.

Copyright Diana Walker.

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Keywords: photojournalist, women photographers, First Ladies, FLOTUS, President of the United States, POTUS, Vice-President of the United States, VPOTUS, Secretary of State, Senator, campaign photography, reportage, portraiture, journalism, photographs of the military, laughing, heads of state

NMAH Photographic History Collection


This collection was created to support an online class for elementary teachers focusing on culturally and linguistically diverse history makers.

Christy Howard

Libraries From Your Couch

I created this collection for families to do together while schools are closed. I will be making a collection a day while we are out of school. Today we will be exploring libraries. The idea is for families to look at the items in the collection and consider what they see in the objects and paintings, what they think, and what they wonder. Families can also watch a free Brainpop video about research as well as listen to the read aloud Library Lion. At the end of the collection I have provided a few ideas for families about what to do next.

If you want to learn more about more about See Think Wonder you can click here to see a video of a teacher using the routine in her classroom.

Ellen Rogers

Greek Vase

Terae Soumah
6073-6096 of 6,985 Collections