Postcards have always been a popular souvenir and a fun way to send a quick message home while on vacation. Often depicting famous buildings or landscapes, The National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection suggests that “these postcards also provide unique evidence of the evolution in American architecture, with rare glimpses of buildings or places that may no longer exist or have dramatically altered over time.”
Through the publishing house Octavo, the Rare Book Room currently has over 400 digitized books available to read online. Many of the books are beautiful examples of the histories of print design, typography, and illustration.
You can search by subject such as literature (where you will find Shakespeare’s work), graphic arts (including a work by Bodoni), music (mostly Beethoven and Mozart), or photography (the Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs from the 1870s are here).
Many of the libraries that hold the original materials are right here in Philadelphia! In the drop-down menu for Find by Library, check out The American Antiquarian Society, The American Philosophical Society, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.
Please note that you will have to allow pop-ups on your web browser to use the site.
The Getty Research Institute‘s mission “is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts.” To meet this goal, the Institute has many digital collections, including images of art, architecture, photography, and primary sources such as artists’ letters.
The Institute also has a Photo Study Collection of about a million of its photographs available online. The Collection acts as a reference tool for studying antiquities and Western art.
At the end of this month, GRI will launch the Getty Research Portal, “a free online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain.” These digitized art books will provide easy access to critical scholarship. Stay tuned to learn more!
The National Gallery of Art has terrific web resources for students and teachers of visual art. NGA Learning Resources offers learning packets, media, and online resources for teaching everything from 15th century European art to 21st century American art. Search by resource format, subject, or artist name. For instance, there is a teaching packet on Art Since 1950, a podcast of an interview with artist Jim Dine, and a slideshow of the Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology. Many of the resources are available as a pdf, podcast, or a webpage. Others you can request to borrow from the National Gallery of Art – just create an account! It’s free!
Want to explore a history of life from way back when? Retronaut will take you there. British ex-museum curator Chris Wild has been culling images, videos, music, and more from public and private archives.
The website is organized by decade but you can also search by categories (like art, fashion, and music) or clusters (such as steampunk or Through the Lens of…photography). You can also add your own content and leave comments, enhancing the visual collection and adding memories.
Want to learn more about the past? UArts Libraries has a great subject guide for 2oth Century Research by Decade. This will help you find books and articles on just about any event in the 20th century!
The Tate Collection is comprised of the National Collection of British Art, the National Archive of British Art, and international modern art. With four physical locations in England, the Tate provides a wonderful website for exploring its collection from anywhere.
Tate Papers is an online journal of scholarly articles about artists, museum studies, and visual culture. Each essay has selected terms and artists’ names hyperlinked to online images of example artwork. They also include bibliographies. Read the current issue or browse by category. There are papers on artists such as Richard Serra and topics like The Sublime Object.
The Tate also publishes books and the University Libraries has many of them. Search by author for Tate Gallery or Tate Modern (Gallery) to see a variety of excellent books on artists and art movements.
Please note: If you are off-campus, you will need to log in using your UArts e-mail log-in.
AP (Associated Press) Images is an incredible resource for those in the visual arts and anyone interested in current events. The AP is the oldest and biggest news organization in the world and has won numerous Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism. In AP Images, there are over 4.6 million photographs, as well as audio and text material, from all these years of international reporting. Each image is high resolution, available for download for educational use only, and has an informative caption describing the photograph.
AP Images is the perfect source for quality images of politicians and celebrities, action shots, and fashion. You can also find images by concepts, such as happy, boredom, wet, and even by color! These search options make the database an excellent electronic picture file for visual inspiration.