|Detroit Publishing Company Collection
Aunt Phoebe, Magnolia-on-the-Ashley [i.e. Magnolia Gardens]. Charleston, S.C. Copyright 1901. Prints and Photographs Division.
Images in the Detroit Publishing Company Collection (25,000 negatives, 20,000 photographic prints, 2,900 transparencies, 1880s-1930) offer insight on the commerce in images
at a scale of
production completely different from that of the individual studio or commercial photographer.
Launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by two Detroit businessmen, William A. Livingstone Jr. and Edwin
H. Husher, the Detroit Publishing Company purchased the negatives of a number of
photographers. Its success, however, was in large part determined by the participation of accomplished American landscape
photographer William Henry Jackson, who joined the firm in 1897.
Catalogs published by the company, found in the division's reference collection, provide documentation regarding the images
and formats the firm offered to the public and the prices originally charged
for them. The collection emphasizes the types of scenes consumers might have wished to frame and hang on their walls or to
send to friends as postcards. It provides valuable clues to popular art works of the day that featured women, as well as to
sites familiar to women of the leisure class.
Besides marketing images to individual consumers, it appears that the company photographed industrial plants and commercial
firms, such as the National Cash Register Company and the advertising firm of the Whitney Warner Publishing Company, for
corporate use. These images reflect the increasing presence of women in offices and manufacturing plants at the turn of the
Window in girls' restaurant, National Cash Register, Dayton, O[hio]. William Henry Jackson. Copyright 1902. Prints and Photographs Division.
For further information about the Detroit Publishing Company Collection, see the collection profile: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/202_detr.html.
Searching the Collection
Catalog records for the Detroit Publishing Company negatives and some transparencies and color prints can be found in the
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog where the collection has its own listing. Digitized images accompany the records. The
same materials are available in American Memory as Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920.
Groups of photographic prints produced by the Detroit Publishing Company have been organized into LOTs, which are indexed
in the Divisional Card Catalog. Onsite researchers can submit call slips to have the LOTs retrieved.
Go to the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)