American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)

Image from collection

New York Public Library

Small Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Dennis Collection, 1850-1910

Amount of award: $74,596

The 11,552 stereoscopic views selected from the Dennis Collection document a geographical area that is under-represented in photographic surveys of the United States, notably small towns and the surrounding landscape in the Mid-Atlantic region. They contain subject matter relating to the rise of industrialism, labor, local history, natural events, urbanism, small town life, material culture, family life, and scenic views. In general, stereo views are more journalistic than is formal photography, and they feature subjects and interpretations not readily available in other formats (local history, for instance). Their popularity and mass production, their encyclopedic subject matter, and their non-artiness make them important visual resources for individuals of all ages. Stereo increases the informational value of an image by sharpening the image, rendering the spatial organization of the scene more accurately, and enhancing the readability of the content (e.g., text on signboards, texture of materials). People will be able to look at the photographs stereoscopically at their computer terminals with inexpensive plastic viewers.

Online Collection

Image Caption: Image 21 from Stereoscopic views of Syracuse, New York. (29 stereographs). (The New York Public Library, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints & Photographs, Photography Collection, Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views. Reproduction Number: NYPG91-F154 021F).