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Underwood & Underwood

Rights and Restrictions Information

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730


Publication and other forms of distribution: No known restrictions. Underwood & Underwood images in the Library's custody generally fall into two categories:

  1. Images received through copyright deposit: The copyrights on images registered by Underwood & Underwood (including the hundreds of stereographs issued by the firm) have expired or were not renewed, so the images are in the public domain.
  2. Images received as gifts: Underwood & Underwood of Washington and Chicago specialized in photographs of current events and personalities which the firm distributed as a news picture agency. The firm presented its "stock surplus" to the Library in a series of gifts made primarily between 1922 and 1935. These images can be found in various LOTS and Reading Room files, such as the Biographical File. In presenting these photographs to the Library, the company stipulated that they not be used for "commercial purposes," presumably to avoid competition with its commercial interests, and stamped many prints with restriction notices. By mid century the firm was inactive. The Library is unaware of any company successor or heir. Searches have not turned up any existing copyrights for Underwood & Underwood images.

Access: Subject to P&P policy on serving originals.

Reproduction (photocopying, hand-held camera copying, photoduplication and other forms of copying allowed by "fair use"): Subject to P&P policy on copying, which prohibits photocopying of the original items.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-DIG-ppmsca-12345]

For more information, please read: Copyright and Other Restrictions That Apply to Publication/Distribution of Images: Assessing the Risk of Using a P&P Image


Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff. Prepared: 2005. Last revised: Nov. 2019.


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  November 13, 2019
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