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Library Company Collection Development Guidelines: Graphics

The Library Company has collected graphics throughout its long history and in 1971 a separate Print Department was formed. Disassembled contents of scrapbooks containing prints, photographs, and drawings of local and antiquarian interest became the core of the graphics collection. Prints and photographs of Philadelphia or by Philadelphia artists have remained at the core of the collection as it has grown over the last 35 years.  The Print Department, at present consists of approximately 75,000 items, and is a vital resource for any researcher looking for visual documentation of the city from the 18th through the early 20th centuries.  Through prints, photographs, maps, and original drawings and watercolors, our collection documents the city’s architecture, commercial life, transportation systems, neighborhoods, and special events.

Areas of Strength in Philadelphia Graphics Collection

Areas of Strength in non-Philadelphia Graphics Collections

Collecting Priorities

Visual Culture Program

The overarching collecting policy in place for the development of the graphics collection applies for the Visual Culture Program. In addition, visual materials documenting the technology of the production of graphics; graphic ephemera that complement the more national collecting strengths of the library, including Afro-Americana, popular medicine, and economy and society; and separately-issued graphics pertaining to late 19th- and early 20th-century popular culture are pursued for acquisition.


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