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Historical and Public Figures: A General Portrait File to the 1920s

Over 30,00 portraits of a wide-range of public figures, including political, religious, cultural, literary and artistic personalities, with an emphasis on the 16th through the 19th-centuries. Includes some original prints, but is principally printed pictures.

Collection Contents  |  Related Subjects

John Adams, from the original portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Digital ID: 494222 John Adams, from the original portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Digital ID: 494222

Collection History

In order to help meet picture research needs early in the 20th-century, portraits were culled from the Print Collection and arranged by subject. Formats include original woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, and, occasionally, photographs, but for the most part the portraits are printed pictures clipped from periodical publications from the mid-19th through the early 20th-century.

Related Resources

There is limited indexing, in the form of a card file available in the department, of additional portrait prints in the Print Collection.

Library Division(s)

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.