Searching for Photographs

Please see the Guide to University of Michigan Photograph Collections for information about university-related images

The Bentley Historical Library's photographic collections are not separated from their original manuscript collections or record groups. Therefore, most visual images can be found by searching MIRLYN for a specific subject, person, organization, or location. It is often helpful to limit the search by adding the keyword "photograph" or "visual" to the search. The list below is an example of a few widely used photographic collections.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Photograph Collection

Photographs collected from various donors relating to Ann Arbor, Michigan; include photos of buildings (public and private), houses, churches, and schools; also views of the city (by street and area); and miscellaneous photos of local events and activities, school class portraits, and other group portraits. There is an online finding aid for the collection. The images date from the 1860s to the 1980s.

Ivory Photograph Collection

This company is an Ann Arbor photography firm that spent several years as an official photographic entity for the University of Michigan. The photographs within the collection mainly include the university and Ann Arbor but also include Ypsilanti and the rest of Washtenaw County. Subjects include buildings, businesses, houses, street scenes, and organizations. The images date from 1927 to 1971. Please see the online finding aid for a more extensive description of the collection.

Postcard Collection

The Bentley Historical Library collects picture postcards with scenes or subjects related to Michigan. This ten-box collection contains postcards from almost every town, city, and region within the state. It also includes scenes from Michigan's colleges and universities. The collection, dating from the 1890s to the present, is arranged alphabetically by city name or by subject. The Postcard Collection's finding aid is available on-line.

Sam Sturgis Photograph Collection

This grouping consists of photographs collected by Sam Sturgis and Hazel Proctor of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The images date from the 1860s to the 1970s and include businesses, street scenes, buildings, people, and activities in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Chelsea, Dexter, Dixboro, Manchester, Saline, and Ypsilanti, Michigan. An extensive index exists within the library.

George Robert Swain Collection

George Robert Swain was an official University of Michigan photographer from 1913 to 1947. The prints within the collection contain Ann Arbor and University of Michigan subjects. Ann Arbor images include local events, residences, buildings, and schools. University of Michigan subjects include events, artwork, buildings, organizations, and campus views. There are also some university faculty member portraits within the collection. A detailed guide to the collection can be found online.