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Free Resources: New York Public Library Introduces Online Archive of 275,000 Images

Posted Mar 15, 2005
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A large treasury of images from the collections of The New York Public Library has recently been made accessible free of charge over the Internet via NYPL Digital Gallery at, according to an announcement from the library.

The initial 275,000 items in the NYPL Digital Gallery were selected by curators from all divisions of The New York Public Library's four research libraries. Included in the searchable database are prints, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, maps, postcards, cigarette cards, menus, posters, and many other visual materials.

Representative collections in NYPL Digital Gallery include:

  • Revolutionary War Scenes -- several thousand images from the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection of Illustrations Relating to the American Revolution
  • Civil War Photos -- 183 rarely seen photos documenting battlefield medical treatment
  • New York City History -- tens of thousands of archival photographs of buildings and streetscapes
  • Illuminated Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts -- more than 2,000 manuscript pages and associated illuminations
  • 16th-century Maps of North America -- including the earliest published maps of the continent
  • Sheet Music Covers -- from the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Civil and Mechanical Engineering -- images from the 16th to the 20th century
  • Manhattan Pre-War Apartments -- 1,260 floor plans and elevations
  • Yiddish Theatre Placards -- from New York and Buenos Aires, 1900s to 1930s
  • Animal Illustrations -- 5,000 pages from illustrated classics published in the 17th to 20th century
  • Japanese Prints -- 17th- and 18th-century woodcuts
  • Fashion Illustrations -- from the 19th to early 20th century
  • Menus -- several thousand restaurant menus from 1851 to the 1920s
  • Russian Civil War Posters -- 213 posters, placards, and broadsides from 1918 to 1922
  • Theatre Photographs -- 1,500 photos from 1900 to 1957 including pictures of Fred Astaire and the Marx Brothers

NYPL Digital Gallery is part of NYPL Digital, which since the late 1990s has offered access to a variety of individual digital collections. These include African American Women Writers of the 19th Century, Mid-Manhattan Library Picture Collection Online, Small-town Stereoscopic Views, and Treasures of the American Performing Arts 1875--1923. These collections will remain accessible, along with NYPL Digital Gallery.

Source: New York Public Library,

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