About the Photograph Archives

The Photograph Archives contain the non-textual archives of the Special Collections Department of the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. The holdings are divided into two sections: the Photographs and the Audio-Visual materials.

The Photograph Archive houses over 1300 separate photograph collections, which together contain approximately 3 million photographs representing almost all historic formats such as daguerreotypes, tintypes, cartes-de-viste, ambrotypes, albumen prints, panoramas, and cyanotypes, as well as more modern color and black and white prints, transparencies, and negatives. The Audio-Visual Archive contains over 900 collections and includes; audio cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, vinyl recording discs, VHS, 8mm, Super-8, 16mm, and 35mm film and more.

For each Photograph or Audio-Visual collection that has been fully processed a finding aid is available. Many of these can be searched online by Browsing Our Finding Aids.

For collections that have not been fully processed, it is necessary to contact a Multimedia Archivist.

The photographic and audio-visual archives of the University of Utah (i.e. resources documenting the University faculty, administration, buildings, campus life, and departments) are a separate collection. For an index to these materials, please see University of Utah Archives Photographs.

Copying of both photographs and audio-visual items is allowed, but due to the irreplaceable nature of the collection and copyright considerations, restrictions may apply and/or special fees may be required. Please see Copyright and Use Restrictions for details, or contact a Multimedia Archivist.

All of the photos that are presented online are taken from the J. Willard Marriott Library's Photograph Archives. While every effort has been made to faithfully reproduce the originals in digital form, the process of digitizing photographs inherently introduces subtle changes. Brightness, contrast, and color representation may each be affected by scanning hardware and software. The process of resizing digital images for presentation on computer monitors may further affect the sharpness and detail of the photos. To adapt photographs for presentation in this digital medium we have routinely adjusted size, brightness, and sharpness to preserve and display as much original information as possible. Some photos have been cropped to reduce extraneous detail, to center the primary subject of the photo and to reduce file size, thereby expediting web access. All photos presented here are copies of the original scans which remain unaltered.

The goals of the Photograph Archives are:

  • Expand access to the library's unique photographic resources. 
  • Make a significant contribution to web culture. 
  • Represent the contents of the individual photo collections. 
  • Allow for wider viewing of fragile photos without the need for them to be physically handled.