Oversize photographs, 1860s-1880s

Collection Type

  • Photography





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The majority of the prints in the Oversize photograph series of the General Photographic Collection are nineteenth-century views of Boston buildings and streets, including works by Southworth and Hawes, James Wallace Black, John Adams Whipple, and A. H. Folsom, dating from the the 1860s to the mid-1880s. Black is represented by several scenes of the Boston Fire of 1872. Besides Boston, Roxbury and Brookline, Massachusetts are well represented.

There are also photographs of government buildings such as the State House and group portraits such as the employees of the W. K. Lewis Brothers Pickle Factory. There are photographs of events such as the New England Methodist Centenary Convention of 1871. Many of the photographs are of streets, such as Beacon Street, that document businesses, residences, and people in the area. This series also includes panoramas and marine views. It is partially cataloged.

A related collection of oversize photographs from the Codman Collection, including Boston buildings and European travel views, is located in a separate drawer of the map file housing the general oversize collection.

Sources: Guide to the Library and Archives, 15-16; Oversize Photographs Finding Aid.


Descriptive Terms

exterior views
public buildings
commercial buildings
religious buildings
black-and-white prints (photographs)

Physical Description

ca. 600 photographic prints : black-and-white

Collection Code


Collection Name

General photographic collection

Reference Code



Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Roxbury (Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts) [neighborhood]
Brookline (Norfolk county, Massachusetts)

Record Details


Southworth & Hawes (Photographic studio)
Southworth, Albert Sands, 1811-1894 (Photographer)
Hawes, Josiah Johnson, 1808-1891 (Photographer)
Black, James Wallace, 1825-1896 (Photographer)
Whipple, John Adams, 1823-1891 (Photographer)
Folsom, A. H. (Augustine H.), 1800-1910 (Photographer)

Material Type

black-and-white prints (photographs)


Great Fire, Boston, Mass., 1872
Marine photography
Beacon Street (Boston, Mass.)
Architectural photography

Description Level


Related Items

Nathaniel L. Stebbins photographic collection



The oversize photographs are arranged by size for the purpose of preservation. These photographs are housed in containers where little movement is possible in order to avoid damage. The collection is also interleaved so that the photographs do not become damaged by the other photographs that are housed in the same box. Some of the photographs are fragile and are placed into their own folders.

Each individual photograph is identified by an OVP (ovesize photograph) number, which is referenced on the versos of the photographs.

The general arrangement of the collection is by geographic locations and subjects.

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