Image Databases

These databases represent a sampling of significant digital image collections that are available to the Harvard community through the Fine Arts Library website or freely available on the web. 

America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1876)

Full-text database of newspapers published in the United States, formerly available only in microform, from all 50 states.  Includes Early American Newspapers Series 1 - 7, 1690-1922; African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 and Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980.

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920

Approximately 3,000 images representing the work of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., Bremer W. Pond, and James Sturgis Pray, as well as that of prominent landscape architects throughout the country. The collection offers views of cities, specific buildings, parks, estates and gardens, including a complete history of Boston's Park System. Hundreds of private estates from across the United States are represented in the collection through contemporary views of homes and gardens.

Archives of American Art

More than 10,000 photographs, letters, sketches and sketchbooks, diaries, printed materials, ephemera, and other documents representing Archives of American Art collections. New images are added on a regular basis. Use keywords to search artists and art world figures.

Art Resource

Art Resource is a fully searchable collection of over 250,000 fine art reference images and offers a good balance of historical and contemporary works. Art Resource has assigned subject terms to its images thus making it possible to search images thematically. Publication and projection quality images are available from Art Resource for a fee.


Artstor is a nonprofit digital library of more than 1.25 million images representing the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences together with a suite of software tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes.  In addition, approximately 230,000 images from the Fine Arts Library Visual Collections and 40,000 images from the Visual Collections of the Frances Loeb Library are available in Artstor’s Harvard Study Collections. Artstor's software tools support a wide range of features such as zooming and panning, saving groups of images online for personal or shared uses, and creating and delivering presentations both online and offline using Artstor's free Offline Image Viewer (OIV).

Bridgeman Art Library

Bridgeman Art Library offers keyword searching and display of its collection of over 350,000 art images from more than 8,000 major international museums, galleries, auction houses, and other collections. Publication and projection quality images are available from Bridgeman Art Library for a fee.

CAMIO: Catalog of Art Museum Images Online

The CAMIO Library (formerly AMICO) contains digital images and detailed descriptions for over 115,000 works of art from major museums in the United States and Canada. Media include photographs, prints, sculpture, paintings, decorative arts, drawings, architecture, and textiles. Simple or advanced modes allow searching by artist, title of work, date, medium, subject, collection, and location. The standard for image resolution is 1024 x 768 pixels and images may be printed or exported for educational purposes.

Digital Harvard & Harvard University Library Selected Digital Collections

Digital Harvard serves as a portal to online educational resources in all fields.  Harvard University Library Digital Collections showcases selected digital image collections created from unique Harvard Library holdings across a broad range of disciplines and cultural history worldwide.

Early American Imprints, Series I (1639-1800) & Series II (1801-1819)

This resource is drawn from a collection of books, pamphlets and broadsides issued in America from 1639 to 1819, recorded in Charles Evans' American Bibliography, Roger P. Bristol's Supplement to Charles Evans' American Bibliography, and American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 by Ralph Shaw and Richard Shoemaker and formerly available only on microfilm.  The collection includes material on virtually every aspect of life in 17th through early 19th century America. contains approximately 6 million digital items captured from paintings, sound recordings, films, and texts from Europe's galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. Included are works of art, maps, photos, books, newspapers, letters, diaries, archival papers, music and spoken word, videos, films, newsreels, and TV and radio broadcasts.   


Gallica is the digital initiative of the National Library of France. Gallica contains over 1,00,000 digital objects including books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts, images, sound recordings, and scores. Several search options are available as well as themed exhibitions of digital collections, e.g., Voyages en Italie and Voyages en Afrique.

Great Buildings Collection

This collection documents architecture around the world and across history documents more than a thousand buildings and hundreds of leading architects and includes 3D models, photographic images and architectural drawings, commentaries, bibliographies, web links, and more, for famous designers and structures. is also cross-linked with ArchitectureWeek, the leading architecture magazine online, and Archiplanet, the community-created all-buildings collection.

Grove Art Online

Grove Art Online provides keyword searching and access to over 45,000 digital images of art works from museums, galleries, and art collections around the world.

Harvard Art Museums: Collections Online

Collections Online provides access to basic information about every object on exhibition in HAM galleries as well as approximately 81,000 works of art in HAM collections. Digital images are included for most objects. Additional documentation on individual works of art is available from the Harvard Art Museums.


HOLLIS Images is the Harvard Library's dedicated image catalog. It includes content from archives, museums, libraries, and other collections throughout Harvard University documenting the arts, material culture, and social history. HOLLIS Images contains descriptive records and images representing paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, prints, architecture, decorative arts, trade cards, rubbings, theater designs, maps and plans. High resolution images may be downloaded.

Library of Congress: Digital Collections

Library of Congress digital collections provide access to millions of written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas.

Marburger Index: Bilddokumentation zur Kunst in Deutschland

Contains approximately one million photographic reproductions. Covers all media: art, architecture, furniture, paintings, drawings, manuscripts, reliefs, facades, portals, glass, ceramics, sculpture, mosaics, collages, etc., from medieval to present-day Germany. In German and English.

New York Public Library: NYPL Digital

Over 700,000 digital images from a wide variety of primary sources including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, illustrated books, and printed ephemera. Images may be copied or downloaded.

Expanding archive of high quality QTVR panoramas representing all subject areas. Includes art,  architecture, and cultural history. Panoramas may be downloaded or used within image presentation tools. For examples, see the Chapelle Cocteau: Notre-Dame-de-Jérusalem (2003) or the Tomb of Rameses IV (2008) or Cape Town Aerial Panorama (2010).

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: Collections Online

Peabody Museum Collections Online provides access to the Peabody Museum's database for objects, paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs.  The Peabody's Online Database offers access to over 300,000 records and images. The site offers users the opportunity to browse preselected groups of commonly requested objects, a simple search function, and an advanced search function. Additional options for researchers are available on request.


Prometheus is a digital image archive for art and culture. Prometheus provides a common user interface that allow searching across multiple image archives, databases from art history research institutes, and museums, primarily in Germany. Content includes 61 art history, design, architectural, theological, history and archaeological image databases containing approximately 756,000 images. Create a profile to save and edit images for presentation.

Smithsonian Institution Digital Collections

Search more than 536,000 images, video and sound files, electronic journals and other resources from all of the Smithsonian's museums, archives & libraries. Included are more than 10,000 photographs, letters, sketches and sketchbooks, diaries, printed materials, ephemera, and other documents representing Archives of American Art collections. New images are added on a regular basis. Use keywords to search artists and art world figures.

VADS: Visual Arts Data Service

An expanding collection of images to support research, learning and teaching by providing visual arts digital resources. The mission of the UK VADS project is to encourage, support and facilitate engagement with visual arts digital resources through collaborative and creative endeavor. The database contains more than 25 collections covering a broad range of art and architecture with over 120,000 images.

World Images

WorldImages provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains over 80,000 digital images which may be freely used for educational purposes. The images can be located using multiple search indexes and are organized into some 600 subject grouping portfolios.