November 4, 2010 Prints and Photographs Division Chief Appointed

Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

Helena Zinkham has been appointed chief of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, effective Sept. 26, 2010.

“During her 26-year tenure at the Library of Congress, Helena has shown a broad ranging and in-depth knowledge of pictorial research collections and their special uses by scholars, students, curators and publishers,” said Jeremy E. Adamson, director of Collections and Services.

Zinkham graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and received a master’s degree in library science from the University of California, Berkeley. She began her library career at the Maryland Historical Society as a reference librarian, cataloger and ultimately as head of the Prints and Photographs Department. Subsequently, she served as curator of Prints and Photographs at the New-York Historical Society and wrote “A Guide to Print, Photograph, Architecture & Ephemera Collections” at The New-York Historical Society.

Zinkham joined the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division in 1984, working on the Videodisc Project—precursor to the division’s popular online catalog (PPOC) at In 1991, she was appointed head of the Technical Services Section.

Under her direction, the division has improved direct public access to the Library’s visual collections through the continuous expansion of digital-image programs and participation in the Flickr Commons project, which has made photographs accessible to millions of Web 2.0 users around the world.

Zinkham has written numerous articles in the field of pictorial studies, on topics ranging from bookplate designs to Photochrom prints, and from Civil War photographer Mathew Brady to Russian photographer Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii. Her essays on visual literacy appear in the books “Photographs: Archival Care and Management” (2006) and “Working in the Archives” (2009). In 2008, Zinkham was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists in recognition of her national contributions to research collection description and access.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

The Prints and Photographs Division preserves and provides access to more than 14 million images, including photographic prints and negatives, cartoons, posters, architectural designs, documentary drawings, and historical and fine-art prints. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials documenting the history, interests and creative achievements of the American people. For more information about the division, go to


PR 10-243
ISSN 0731-3527