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Photographs & Graphic Materials

The two-dimensional collections of the Newport Historical Society include photographs in all historical formats, postcards, prints, architectural plans and drawings, and maps. Of these, the photograph collection is by far the largest, comprising over 200,000 images dating from the 1840s to the present.

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Click here for online access to portions of our photograph collections, available via our Gladys online collections database.


Newport Artillery Company

All historic photographic formats are represented in the Society’s holdings: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, lantern slides, stereopticon views, cyanotypes, albumen prints, and paper prints produced through a variety of printing techniques. The Society also holds thousands of negatives, both glass and film, many of which have never been printed.

Major subject headings include:

America’s Cup Races Ida Lewis/Lime Rock Light Small Craft and Catboats
Architecture Lighthouses Tiverton
Beaches Little Compton Touro Synagogue
The Cliff Walk Middletown Trinity Church
Decorative Arts Newport Harbor The U. S. Navy
The Fall River Line Parades and Pageants Naval Torpedo Station
Ferry Boats Matthew Calbraith Perry U. S. Naval Vessels
Goat Island Oliver Hazard Perry West Island
Hotels Portsmouth The Waterfront
Hurricanes Prudence Island Yachting
Jamestown Redwood Library Yacht Racing

Photograph Special Collections

The Society’s reputation as a repository for historic images has compelled many individuals to donate or bequeath substantial collections over the years. These special collections include:

Joshua Appleby Williams

The Charles Follen McKim Portfolio

The Clarence Stanhope Collection

The Stanhope/Covell Collection

The Jonas Bergner Collection

The Mabel Norman Cerio Collection

The Henry O. Havemeyer Collection

The Hugh Willoughby Collection

The Samuel Kerschner/Gilbert Harrington Collection

The Newport Daily News Collection
The Newport Daily News glass plates collection is comprised of nearly 20,000 images of Newport activities, structures, and individuals from the turn of the century to the 1940s. In 1998, it was augmented by the gift of Newport Daily News photo tiles, bringing the collection up to the late 1980s. Typically, of the many exposures made at an event, only one or two were actually published. The Society’s holdings include those that were published, and many more that never appeared in the newspaper. From the historian’s perspective, it is often the latter that carries important information.  Subjects include:

Aerial Views Fires Police
Architectural Views Funerals Railroads and Trolleys
Automobiles Moving Pictures/ Theatricals Schools
Beaches Newport Artillery Company Sports
Carnivals Newport City Yard Street Views
Cemeteries Organizations Water Works
Churches Parades and Processions The U.S. Army
Fire Department Playgrounds The U. S. Navy

The Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and Great Friends Meeting House Restorations

These collections provide invaluable documentation of the restoration of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House by Norman Isham in 1929 and the Great Friends Meeting House by Orin Bullock in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both collections have been instrumental in the Society’s stewardship and preservation of these important properties. The Friends Meeting House collection has recently been enlarged by the addition of material from the office of the late Donald Dodge, a Jamestown architect and builder who worked with Bullock on the restoration.

The Henry Curtis Collection
Henry Curtis was a professional photographer from the 1940s until the mid-1960s. An early member of the Newport Camera Club, in the late ’40s he ran the former Newport Photo, a Sunday newspaper that later became the Newport Post, a daily newspaper. Upon his death in 1995, the Society acquired over 25,000 images, most of his own creation, the remainder taken by family and friends.

Graphics Collections

Graphics materials of other types include prints, post cards, architectural plans and drawings, and maps.

1780 Newport mapColony House Print