Top of page

Collection National Photo Company Collection

About this Collection

This collection documents virtually all aspects of Washington, D.C., life. During the administrations of Presidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, the National Photo Company supplied photographs of current news events in Washington, D.C., as a daily service to its subscribers. It also prepared sets of pictures on popular subjects and undertook special photographic assignments for local businesses and government agencies. The images date between ca. 1850 and 1945; the bulk of the images were created between 1909 and 1932. The photographic files of the National Photo Company, including an estimated 80,000 images (photographic prints and corresponding glass negatives), were acquired by the Library from its proprietor Herbert E. French in 1947.

Available online are the glass negatives and a selection more than 1,900 photographic prints for which copy negatives exist. The scanned photographic prints represent a small cross-section of the entire corpus of photographic prints, which include individual prints grouped in LOTs, and prints presented in chronological albums covering events of the period 1919 to 1930 and thematic groups of photographs on the four presidents, inaugurations, sports, landmarks, conventions, and topics of local interest. [View records for National Photo Company albums and groups of photographic prints from the "Groups of Images" bucket.]

Image Sampler