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Joseph Baird Collection of 19th-century Architectural Photographs, circa 1870-1920

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Finding Aid for the Joseph Baird Collection of 19TH-Century Architectural Photographs, Circa 1870-1920

Scope and Content of Collection

Assembled over a forty-year period by Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. (1922-1992), this collection contains ca. 1663 photographs of architecture and urban views. Most of the photographs date from the late nineteenth-century, although a few are early twentieth-century prints.

The collection spans several continents and dozens of countries. The majority of the photographs depict buildings and cities in Europe, especially the countries Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain. Other countries featured include Africa: Algeria, Egypt and South Africa; Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, and India; Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey; Middle East: Jordan; Lebanon; and Syria; and North America: Mexico and Hawaii.

Subject matter includes exterior and interior views of religious buildings, palaces, government buildings, and theaters, as well as panoramas of towns and cities and views of streets and plazas. Urban views include images of streets and plazas and panoramas of cities and towns. International expositions and the Paris Commune are among other subjects documented in the collection.

The photographs, most of which are albumens, were taken by professional photographic studios and include such names as Alinari, Amodio, F. and O. Brockmann, the London Stereoscopic Company, Quinet, Sébah and Joallier, and George Washington Wilson. Many of the prints include a negative number. Many of the photographs are annotated, some by Baird.

Arrangement note

Arranged in 5 series:
Series I. Loose Photographs, regular size;
Series II Loose Photographs, large size;
Series III Loose album leaves;
Series IV Photo albums;
Series V Travel Booklets.

Series I and II descriptions include some or all of the following information for photographs:

Cutter Number: The material is organized by Cutter Number and is first divided by continent (Africa, Asia, Europe), and then by country (Algeria, Egypt, South Africa), according to modern English place names. Within a country items are organized alphabetically by city/site. The last part of the Cutter number is the item number within the country. These numbers refer to items or sheets and not always individual photographs; some items contain several photographs. Example: E85. G3.56 = Europe, Germany, item 56.

Physical Description: This line is included after the Cutter number when the item contains more than one photograph or image. Example: Loose album leaf with 3 photographs.

Caption: Captions enclosed in quotation marks are handwritten captions. Otherwise, captions are printed on front or back of photographs. An ellipsis […] after a caption indicates a lengthy description of the site. Information enclosed in brackets is from the cataloguer. If the caption does not clearly indicate the country, site, and subject, this information is indicated in brackets. A brief description may also be included. Caption may be one or several lines.

Negative Number: A number enclosed in quotation marks indicates a handwritten negative or collection number. Negative numbers, where they exist, are printed on the front or back of photograph; in some instances a negative or collection number is handwritten on the photograph.

Process: Most of the photographs in series I and II are albumen prints. This line appears only to indicate a process other than albumen.

Size: Size units are centimeters, height x width.

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