Most of the resources listed under Digital Libraries and Collections include images.

Visual materials, i.e., drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, films, videos, etc. are to be found in many Harvard libraries. Records for many, but by no means all, individual Harvard University Library images are available in HOLLIS Images, an online catalog of images. Records include subjects and a thumbnail image.  Images in the HOLLIS Images database are searched in HOLLIS; limit to Images under Refine My Results: Resource Type.

WorldCat is a rich source of images, including digitized images and images clipped from periodicals (with usable citations), as well as collections and individual images available on onsite.  Limiting your WorldCat search to Documents Type: Visual in Advanced Search results in a variety of search results including films, DVDs, etc.  A search for particular types of visual materials can be done using Material Types.  In Advanced Search, adjust a search box to Material Type or Material Type Phrase (for multiple word Material types).  Choose the appropriate Material types from this list (Scroll down to Visual Material). Put in ngr for 2-D images.

Numerous photograph archives, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, are contributing images to Flickr.

Digital Collections at Harvard. Digitized versions of Harvard University Library collections.

Harvard College Library Digital Collections

Major Institutional and Subject Collections

Images of America: a history of American life in images and texts is the online version of thousands of books in the Arcadia US local history series. The histories Includes photographs from archives, historical societies and private collections. Images and text are fully searchable. Searchable by location, person, event, date, ethic group and organization. Search HOLLIS Library Catalog Advanced search as Series (exact phrase) Images of America for the print books.

American Civil War: Photographs, Posters and Ephemera collection includes Civil War valentines, Political and other cartoons, Sheet music covers, etc.

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920 contains about 2,800 lantern slide views of American buildings and landscapes.

AP Multimedia Archive (AccuNet) is a searchable database of over 700,000 Associated Press photographs, charts and other graphics from the 1840s to the present.

ARTstor is a database of digital images serving art history and the humanities.

Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

Calisphere (University of California) includes 150,000 digitized primary sources.

Online Archive of California offers collections from several California museums, historical societies, and archives.

CAMIO (Catalog of Art Museum Images Online) contains searchable images and descriptions for over 115,000 works of art from US and Canadian museums.

Catalog of American Portraits Portrait Search searches numerous American collections. Records often include images.

Corbis Images (commercial site)

Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920 (Library of Congress) photograph collection includes over 25,000 items, mostly of the eastern U.S., with subject index and keyword searchable.

Digital Images Collections Wiki offers links to collections of Free- and Fair-Use digital images arranged by subject.

Free to Use and Reuse Sets (Library of Congress)

History of the American West (1860-1920) offers over 30,000 photographs from the Denver Public Library.

Image Collections and Online Art (University of Michigan)

Labor Arts online museum. Distributed. Images: Art, posters, artifacts. Music: sheet music, audio

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

National Portrait Gallery's Collections Search

NYPL Digital Gallery offers over 700,000 images from the New York Public Library.

Photography: The World through the Lens (Nineteenth Century Collections Online).  To browse the Collections within Photography, open menu in search box on upper left.  Click on image under Photography.  You can search within a Collection, or in Advanced search you can limit to Collection.

Posters at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives includes a searchable database of around 33,000 of their 100,000 item worldwide political poster collection.

Smithsonian Open Access Archive

Visual Collections: Images of Art, History and Culture hosts collections from several museums, universities and private collections. Many free, some by subscription.

Visual Resources Research Guide (Yale University) offers list of Image Resources by Subject

Wikimedia Commons is a database of over 5 million freely usable media files.

British Sources

British Library Images Online

John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (18th-20th centuries). Collection, housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, documents everyday life in Britain.

Science & Society Picture Library offers over 50,000 images from the Science Museum (London), the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and the National Railway Museum.

Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) offers images of art, design, and posters.

Other Worldwide

Print Collection of Göttweig Monastery
The print collection of Göttweig Monastery is Austria's largest private collection of historical graphic art. The first segment of the collection to be digitized is now available.

Harvard University Stuart Cary Welch Islamic and South Asian Photograph Collection

Akkasah – Digitised Photographs from the Middle East and North Africa

American Centre for Oriental Resources Library Photo Archive

Arab Image Foundation Archive (Non Profit archive of Middle Eastern images based in Beirut) 

ArchNet archive of Middle Eastern Built Environments, curated by the Aga Khan Documentation Centre at MIT

Das Bild des Orients. Searchable in German and English

Palestine Poster Project Archives

Saudi Aramco World Digital Archive (1964- ) Aramco World magazine, published/unpublished images


Sources for television and radio ads are available on the Radio and the Film pages of this guide.

Advertising (Schlesinger Library): Research Guide to manuscript / archival collections related to women in advertising in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Searches can be limited to advertisements in Proquest Historical Newspapers and American Periodicals Series Online - More Search Options, then Document Type.

Ad*Access (1911 and 1955) world's largest searchable database of classic print ads (individual subscription)

Advertising Archives has both American and British ads.

Ads Through the Ages

AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials (1950s-1980s). Note that Sub-Collections breaks the collection down by individual company.

Early Advertising Collection (1790-1910) contains European and American printed advertisements, largely late 19th century trade cards. Dates often approximate.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920

Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History

John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (18th-20th centuries). Collection, housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, documents everyday life in Britain. Includes section on advertising.

A New and Wonderful Invention: The 19th-Century American Trade Cards.

Medicine & Madison Avenue (1850-1920)

Vintage Ad Browser.  Arranged by topic then date.  No citations.

Additional links:
Advertisements Online
University of Washington libraries images guide


The Presidential Elections, 1860-1912: Cartoons from Harper's Weekly and other Leading Journals

Cartoons of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

1896: Presidential Campaign - Cartoons and Commentary

Political Cartoons and Caricatures (Library of Congress)

Teaching with Documents: Political Cartoons illustrating Progressivism and the Election of 1912

John Carter Brown Library Digital Collections

Art Sources

Princeton Art Museum Digital

Getty Collections Online Resources

US National Gallery of Art Digital

Yale Centre for British Art

Art Institute of Chicago

The Frick Collection

The Huntington Digital Library

Further Information

Directory to Photographs at Harvard

Photographica: Research Guide for Photography@Harvard

Picturing United States History offers essays and lectures on visual sources and their use.