Arts & Literature


Artworks and objects, dance, design, furniture, motion pictures, music, ornament, performance, theatre and more

Explore more categories

Search within these collections:  

500 Years of Italian Dance: Treasures from the Cia Fornaroli Collection

500 Years of Italian Dance: Treasures from the Cia Fornaroli Collection

Hundreds of images from the Cia Fornaroli Collection illustrate the rich history of Italian dance. The collection includes designs, lithographs, ephemera, and more.

Explore: arts

Africana & Black History

Africana & Black History

Several thousand items ranging from historical documents and rare visual materials to contemporary photo-journalism, relating to the entirety of African American history from the 16th century to the present; selected in the course of developing the NYPL website "African American Migration Experience."

Explore: arts | culture | history


American Popular Song Sheet Covers, 1890-1922

American Popular Song Sheet Covers, 1890-1922

Thousands of examples of the covers of popular American sheet music from 1890-1922, the first decades of a much larger collection that stretches to the present.

Explore: arts | culture | printing

America's First Illustrator: Alexander Anderson

America's First Illustrator: Alexander Anderson

Sixteen scrapbooks containing close to 10,000 wood-engravings by 19th-century master illustrator Alexander Anderson, considered one of America's earliest and finest wood-engravers.

Explore: arts | culture | printing


Art from the George Arents Collection on Tobacco

Art from the George Arents Collection on Tobacco

Hundreds of prints relating to tobacco, from an exceptional extra-illustrated copy of Fairholt's Tobacco: Its History and Lore (1859).

Explore: arts | culture

Asia and the Pacific Rim in Early Prints and Photographs

Asia and the Pacific Rim in Early Prints and Photographs

Over 1,000 prints and photographs of East, Southeast and South Asia from the 18th century to the early 20th century, drawn from portfolios, photographic albums, photographically illustrated books and archival collections.

Explore: arts | cities | culture | history


Authors: Photographs from the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature

Authors: Photographs from the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature

Hundreds of portraits - prints and photographs - picturing more than 120 authors writing in English, primarily from the 1860s to the 1920s, and later, organized alphabetically by sitter.

Explore: arts | culture

Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era; A Selection of Images

Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era; A Selection of Images

Several dozen images, including book illustrations and print series, reflecting literary and cultural history and the role of women during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Explore: arts | culture


Books by Alvin Langdon Coburn

Books by Alvin Langdon Coburn

66 photogravure portraits of artists, writers, statesmen and other public figures, primarily American and English, in photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn's 1913 Men of Mark (from 1904 to 1913) and his 1922 More Men of Mark (from 1913 to 1922).

Explore: arts | culture

Cabinet Card Portraits in the Collection of Radical Publisher Benjamin R. Tucker

Cabinet Card Portraits in the Collection of Radical Publisher Benjamin R. Tucker

260 portrait photographs, from about 1880-1900, chiefly albumen cabinet cards and cartes de visite, of radical figures, and a variety of statesmen, authors, artists, actresses and other notable, primarily European, cultural figures. The backs of these cards are also viewable.

Explore: arts | culture | history


Chinese Rare Books from the James Legge Collection

Chinese Rare Books from the James Legge Collection

Rare Chinese books, dating from the period 1600 to 1900, drawn from the Rare Book Division's James Legge Collection.

Explore: arts | culture

Claire Holt Collection of Indonesian Dance and Related Arts

Claire Holt Collection of Indonesian Dance and Related Arts

Thousands of photographs of Indonesian costumes, theatrical performances, and dance movements taken by scholar Claire Holt and others, collected by her in travels through the region in the 1930s and later.

Explore: arts | culture


Dance in Photographs and Prints

Dance in Photographs and Prints

Scores of dance photographs feature specific dancers, and range from publicity stills to professional photographers' vintage prints.

Explore: arts

Dust Jackets from American and European Books, 1926-1947

Dust Jackets from American and European Books, 1926-1947

More than 2,000 original specimens of book jackets from trade books acquired routinely by the Research Libraries.

Explore: arts | printing


Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan

Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan

More than 1,000 images encompassing 1,200 years of Japanese book art, including Buddhist sutras, painted manuscripts, portraits, landscapes, calligraphic verse, and photographic books, with related drawings and woodblock prints.

Explore: arts | culture

Empire and Regency: Decoration in the Age of Napoleon

Empire and Regency: Decoration in the Age of Napoleon

Twenty primary source illustrated pattern books, scrapbooks, and a set of original French goldsmith's drawings from the late 18th to early 20th-centuries featuring mainly interior decoration, furnishings, furniture patterns, and views relating to the Empire and Regency Styles.

Explore: arts | cities | culture


The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro

The Floating World: Japanese Color Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro

Original prints by the Japanese painter and woodcut designer Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806).

Explore: arts | culture

Gertrude Stein: Part of a Life in Pictures by Carl Van Vechten

Gertrude Stein: Part of a Life in Pictures by Carl Van Vechten

More than 200 photographs by Carl Van Vechten: includes Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at home in France; plus portraits of Stein in America and of performers associated with Stein's 1934 opera Four Saints in Three Acts.

Explore: arts


Icons and Images of Cultures: Plate Books from the Russian Empire, Early Soviet Russia, and Eastern Europe, 1730-1935

Icons and Images of Cultures: Plate Books from the Russian Empire, Early Soviet Russia, and Eastern Europe, 1730-1935

Thousands of images, reproducing, often in their entirety, important illustrated books published in Russia and adjacent areas. Most notably, includes the several series issued by 19th-century collector and scholar, Dimitrii Aleksandrovich Rovinskii.

Explore: arts | culture | history

Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts

Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts

Over 100 illuminations selected from the 1,156 extant pages of the Padua Ashkenazi Mahzor, a medieval Jewish festival prayer book; Hamburg Haggadah (1731); Ketubbot (1638); and Xanten Bible.

Explore: arts | culture | printing


Joseph Muller Collection of Music and Other Portraits

Joseph Muller Collection of Music and Other Portraits

Thousands of images dating from the 16th to the early 20th-centuries, mostly engravings and lithographs, with some drawings, predominantly of composers and musicians but also including portraits of actors, heads of state, music patrons, nobility, philosophers, poets, printers, theorists, and writers, among others, amassed by Joseph Muller, a private collector.

Explore: arts

Libri Amicorum: Friendship and Autographs

Libri Amicorum: Friendship and Autographs

A single gem of a "friendship book" from the circle of Percy Byssche Shelley, created by Anne Wagner in the early 19th century. This collection will grow as additional similar items are identified in the Library's manuscript collections.

Explore: arts


Marquees, 1997-2001: New York City Theatre Photographs by Christopher Frith

Marquees, 1997-2001: New York City Theatre Photographs by Christopher Frith

1,717 color photographs of Broadway theater marquees and theater facades from 1997 to 2001 by Christopher J. Frith.

Explore: arts | cities

Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe

Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe

More than 2,000 manuscript pages and associated illuminations dating from the 9th through the 16th centuries give vivid testimony to the creative impulses of the often nameless craftsmen who continually discovered new ways of animating the contents of hand-produced books.

Explore: arts | culture | history | printing


On Stage and Screen: Photograph File of the Billy Rose Theatre Collection

On Stage and Screen: Photograph File of the Billy Rose Theatre Collection

Tens of thousands of photographs of actors and actresses, in character and as themselves, from the 19th century to recent years.

Explore: arts

Ornament and Pattern: Pre-Victorian to Art Deco

Ornament and Pattern: Pre-Victorian to Art Deco

Several thousand images from nearly 100 volumes on decorative art and surface ornament, mainly portfolios of plates, pattern books, and scrapbook compilations.

Explore: arts | printing


"Penny Plains" and "Two-pence Coloured:" English Theatrical Portraits 1799-1847 in the William Appleton Collection

"Penny Plains" and "Two-pence Coloured:" English Theatrical Portraits 1799-1847 in the William Appleton Collection

306 toy theatre prints portraying plays and actors in character, from the early- to mid-19th century; these prints comprise the visual materials in the William Appleton collection.

Explore: arts

The Picture Collection of The New York Public Library

The Picture Collection of The New York Public Library

Over 30,000 images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, created mostly before 1923 and selected from the over 1,000,000 images in the Mid-Manhattan Library's Picture Collection.

Explore: arts | cities | culture | history


Picturing America, 1497-1899: Prints, Maps, and Drawings bearing on the New World Discoveries and on the Development of the Territory that is now the United States

Picturing America, 1497-1899: Prints, Maps, and Drawings bearing on the New World Discoveries and on the Development of the Territory that is now the United States

Over 1,000 original prints, drawings, and maps, featuring views of American towns and cities, representations of historical events, scenes, places, and battles.

Explore: arts | cities | culture | history

"Queen of Off-Broadway:" Lucille Lortel Collection Photographs 1902-1998

"Queen of Off-Broadway:" Lucille Lortel Collection Photographs 1902-1998

An appreciative selected collection of eighteen memorabilia photographs from the papers of Lucille Lortel (1900-1999), the woman regarded as the founder of Off-Broadway, the second wave of little theatre in America.

Explore: arts


Samuel Putnam Avery Print Collection and Related Works

Samuel Putnam Avery Print Collection and Related Works

Nearly 3,000 etchings, lithographs, and some drawings, by prominent 19th-century printmakers such as of Félix Bracquemond, Félix Buhot, Francisco Goya, Charles Jacque, Edouard Manet, Charles Méryon, and Camille Pissarro.

Explore: arts | printing

Sporting Sketches by Henry Thomas Alken

Sporting Sketches by Henry Thomas Alken

Selected images of hunting, sporting scenes, and related subjects in prints and drawings by the noted British artist Henry Alken (1785-1851), the best-known English sporting artist of his day and still one of the most popular.

Explore: arts | science


The Sweetest Sounds: The Musical Theatre of Richard Rodgers

The Sweetest Sounds: The Musical Theatre of Richard Rodgers

A celebration of Richard Rodgers's life in the theatre includes thousands of photographs, programs, window cards, advertising ephemera, manuscripts and set designs documenting forty-one shows, from Poor Little Ritz Girl of 1920 to I Remember Mama, 1979.

Explore: arts | culture

Theatre Productions and Players, 1900-1957: Vandamm Studio Photographs

Theatre Productions and Players, 1900-1957: Vandamm Studio Photographs

The thousands of items in this digital presentation are a sampling of an archive of more than 75,000 images of theatrical personalities and productions. Images in the current presentation represent glass plate and acetate negatives primarily.

Explore: arts


Turn of the Century Posters

Turn of the Century Posters

Over 1,000 American and European posters printed from 1893 through the first years of the 20th-century. The collection represents the inception and heyday of magazine, book, and newspaper posters of the last decade of the 19th-century, and well into the 20th-century.

Explore: arts | printing

Vintage Holiday Postcards

Vintage Holiday Postcards

More than 1,800 vintage holiday postcards from the New York Public Library's Picture Collection themed around national celebrations of the United States: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Washington's Birthday, among others.

Explore: arts | culture | printing


Walt Whitman Manuscripts

Walt Whitman Manuscripts

Over 1,000 items, including manuscripts, printed works, and portraits of Walt Whitman (1819-1892), the leading American poet of the 19th century.

Explore: arts

William Blake: Illustrated Books

William Blake: Illustrated Books

Three original books in "relief etching" by William Blake, who composed the texts, designed the texts and decorations, and printed the pages: America: A Prophecy(1793 [1794?]), Europe: A Prophecy (1794), and Milton(1804 [i.e. 1808?]).

Explore: arts | printing


Wonders: Images of the Ancient World

Wonders: Images of the Ancient World

Over 1,700 images of the civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other ancient Mediterranean cultures as conceived and depicted by artists and travelers from the 18th to the early 20th century, as represented in book and periodical illustrations, engravings, lithographs and photographs. A wide range of subjects includes arms and armor, architecture, furniture, pottery, mythology, religion, theater and the Seven Wonders of the World.

Explore: arts | cities | culture | history

Yiddish Theatre Placards: Buenos Aires and New York

Yiddish Theatre Placards: Buenos Aires and New York

Placards from the two leading centers of Yiddish theater in their respective heydays: New York, 1890s-1910s, and Buenos Aires, 1930s-1940s

Explore: arts | culture


NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the vast collections of The New York Public Library, including drawings, illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.