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Israel Stollman collection of stereographs, 1850-1979, undated

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Stollman (Israel) collection

Scope and Content of Collection

Israel Stollman began building the present collection in 1957 when he was hired by Ohio State University and charged with establishing a new graduate program in city and regional planning. He intended the collection to be used as a teaching and study tool in the broadest sense of the word, and continued to add to it throughout his career. In addition to using the collection for teaching urban planning, Stollman often used the perspectival qualities of stereographs to convince his private clients of particular design solutions.

Comprising over 9,100 items, the majority of which are card stereographs (pairs of mounted photographs of the same image taken from two slightly different perspectives), the focus of the collection is views of cities and urban areas, especially of the United States. As such, the collection is not only a significant resource for the development of modern urban sites, but it also encapsulates the history of the production of stereographs which flourished from the 1850s through the 1930s. Disseminated widely for both personal entertainment and as teaching aids, stereographs were influential conveyors of information that helped form popular perceptions about a region, an object, or another culture. Their images were often reinforced by the texts printed on their versos which usually conveyed a specific cultural bias.

The individual stereographs in Series I form the core of the collection. Stollman collected these stereographs individually or in small groups. Stereographs of North America form almost half of this series. The cities of New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. are prominently represented. Major European cities and sites, especially those of France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy are also well-represented. Broadly speaking, over 95 percent of the stereographs deal with urban themes. Other subjects including landscapes and rural views, ancient sites, famous personalities, interiors, railroads, views of monuments and works of art, views of significant events, and genre scenes and representations of local peoples can be found within the individual countries represented in the collection.

Views of national and international expositions ranging from the Crystal Palace (London, 1851) to the Century of Progress Exposition (Chicago, 1933-1934) are also present. These stereographs help to reinforce the relationship of the design of world's fairs and the development of urban planning as a profession.

Nearly every major publisher of stereographs is represented in this series including the American Stereoscopic Company; B. W. Kilburn Company (Kilburn Brothers); Breveté; E. & H. T. Anthony; Ferrier et Soulier; H. C. White Co.; Griffith & Griffith; Keystone View Company; Léon et Lévy; London Stereoscopic Company; Stereo-Travel Co.; Underwood & Underwood; Universal Photo Art Company; and the Universal Stereoscopic View Company.

Photographers of note include Charles Bierstadt; Adolphe Braun; Abel Briquet; Giacomo Brogi; Francis Frith; Frank Mason Good; B.W. Kilburn; Eadweard Muybridge; Alfredo Noack; Robert Rive; Giorgio Sommer; James Valentine (Valentine & Sons); and George Washington Wilson. Approximately ten percent of the views are unique, that is taken by amateur or little-known photographers. These include early European views and American views by small-town photographers.

Series II comprises boxed sets, that is stereographs purchased as sets and usually sold housed in special boxes. In addition to a Keystone View Company, Tour of the World set, there are sets for individual countries, a set of stereographs documenting medical conditions, small format sets, and sets of film positive stereographs.

Small groups of glass format stereographs and lantern slides representing a variety of countries are found in Series III. Most of these items are unsigned, but stereograph makers include Ferrier & Soulier and Brevité. A number of the glass lantern slides are hand-colored. Stollman collected a variety of stereoviewers ranging from free-standing pedestal viewers to handheld viewers to compact collapsible viewers; these objects are found in Series IV. Some of the viewers were made to accompany the stereoscopes produced by a specific publisher and are of a more mass-produced nature, while others, especially the nineteenth-century models made by opticians and cabinet makers as parlor pieces, exhibit the qualities of small pieces of finished cabinetry.

Finally, Series V comprises various materials loosely related to stereographs such as a printed sheet of stereoviews, price lists, and steorograph club literature.


Organized in five series:
Series I: Individual stereographs, 1850-1960;
Series II: Boxed sets, 1890-1970s;
Series III: Glass stereographs and lantern slides, 1860-1930;
Series IV: Stereoviewers, 1860-1979;
Series V: Prints, objects and ephemera, 1893-1977, undated.

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