Photography Collections

What you will find

Photographs in one format or another have been an unrecognized component of manuscript collections since the birth of photography. The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library collections contain an extensive array of photographic formats documenting the history of the photographic process including:

  • daguerreotypes
  • ambrotypes
  • autochromes
  • tintypes
  • albumen prints
  • salted paper prints
  • carbon prints
  • platinum prints
  • cyanotypes
  • silver gelatin prints
  • chromogenic color prints

Some notable collections

Our collection interests

The Archive of Documentary Arts (ADA) collects photography from around the world related to:

  • Africa & African American history and culture
  • the American South
  • gender
  • human rights
  • occupational culture
  • migration
  • race and ethnicity
  • social change

Since the early 1980s, ADA has been actively collecting documentary photography in support of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (formerly known as the Center for Documentary Photography). The collecting initiative focuses on acquiring and preserving the entire body of a photographer's work, including:

  • negatives
  • contact sheets
  • work prints
  • finished prints
  • correspondence
  • journals 
  • motion picture footage
  • sound recordings

ADA also archives the materials created through documentary projects sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies, such as:

Our partnerships

In order to strengthen its collections of South African photography, ADA forged a new model of digital collecting with the University of Cape Town Library to preserve and make accessible the work of South African photographers — essentially creating parallel archives. The South African Documentary Photographs Collection currently contains the work of more than 40 photographers, including:
  • David Goldblatt
  • Anne Fischer
  • Santu Mofokeng
  • Daniel Morolong
  • Cedric Nunn
  • Jeeva Rajgopaul
  • Guy Tillim
  • Paul Weinberg
  • Graeme Williams
  • Giselle Wolfson