Photographs and prints together form a pictorial collection numbering in excess of 200,000 images, including several thousand postcards. New Jersey scenes and people are especially well documented, as are images relating to United States history through the Civil War.
All of the prints and photographs are stored in closed stacks and must be requested via call slips at the New Jersey Room reference desk.
The repository's general pictorial collection consists of interfiled prints and photographs, both oversize and non-oversize, that are divided into four categories. The first category is General Subjects which includes images grouped by the subjects illustrated (e.g., categories of buildings) or by their type (e.g., political caricatures). The other three categories are United States Subjects (excluding New Jersey), Foreign (i.e., non-United States) Subjects and New Jersey Subjects. The three latter categories are each further divided into three subcategories: historical events (arranged chronologically), views (arranged geographically) and portraits (arranged alphabetically).
Two significant collections have been incorporated into the general pictorial collection. The first, an accumulation of over 8,000 prints gathered by Warren Cady Crane, emphasize images of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and (in greatest depth) Napolean Bonaparte. The second, gathered by William S. Sharp, consists primarily of portraits of New Jersey elected officials through the late nineteenth century.
The New Jersey portion of the general pictorial collection is the largest. It includes twelve linear feet of views (with especially thorough coverage for Middlesex County and New Brunswick, the county seat), four linear feet of portraits and several folders of historical events.
Finding aids listing the subject headings for each of the pictorial collection's categories and subcategories (excluding the alphabetically-arranged portraits) are available at the New Jersey Room reference desk.
This collection, housed separately from the general pictorial collection, consists of thirty-five eight inch boxes and one oversize box containing postcards depicting New Jersey scenes. The postcards are geographically arranged, first by county and then by local place name. Three cities are further subdivided by street name or category of view. The postcards pertain to all areas of the state during the twentieth century, with the New Jersey Shore being especially well represented.
A finding aid listing the subdivisions used in the postcard collection is available at the New Jersey Room reference desk.
The repository's stereographs (stereo photographic views) are also stored together and not interfiled into the general pictorial collection. Over 600 stereo views comprise the collection, of which approximately one-third depict New Jersey, with the Passaic Falls and vicinity in Paterson most heavily documented. Approximately 100 other views depict areas of the United States outside New Jersey and the remainder depict foreign countries (primarily Europe as it would have appeared to U.S. citizens making the "grand tour" in the late nineteenth century). The images are all paper-based, including a few lithographic examples, and date mainly from the 1860s to the 1880s.
Several bodies of photographs with a common creator are housed as separate collections and, in addition, some significant photographic holdings are held as integral parts of larger manuscript collections.
Examples of collections with a single creator include the William F. Augustine photograph collection (New Jersey images from the 1920s to the 1970s, focusing on southern New Jersey), the Neal Ranauro photograph collection (images of Manville, N.J., especially from the late 1940s to the 1960s), and the Isaac S. Van Derveer photograph collection (primarily images of New Brunswick, N.J., from the 1890s to the 1940s). For each of these collections, a checklist or finding aid is available at the New Jersey Room reference desk.
Examples of photographs included within a larger manuscript collection include those in the Paul A. Schack collection (images of South River, N.J.), in the Paul Foster theatrical papers (images of off-off-Broadway and productions of Foster's plays), in the records of Consumers' Research, Inc. (twentieth century consumer products; advance notice required), in the records of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (activities within the union at all levels; advance notice required) and in the Roebling collection (primarily images of family members). The Modern School Collection, also includes photographs, some of which are available in an online digital collection.
For a more complete review of the repository's photographic collections, consult the 1996 PACSCL Photograph Directory.
A very significant collection of photographs, not listed in the PACSCL directory, is the Julius Lazarus Photographic Archives and Collection.