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Joseph S. Allen Collection

Photographs of American architecture

Prints & Photographs Division

Collection digitized? No.

In 1977 and 1978 Joseph S. Allen, who retired as editor in the Library's Subject Cataloging Division after thirty-two years of service, presented to the Library 11,427 architectural photographs dating chiefly from the period 1945 to 1967. Inspired by the Historic American Buildings Survey, Mr. Allen methodically photographed churches, colleges, government buildings, residential structures, and historic monuments in twenty-seven eastern and mid-western states. He used a 1935 Jiffy Kodak camera to take all of the photographs.

One building type that Allen documented particularly well is the county courthouse. The collection includes photographs of almost nine hundred courthouses, including all the courthouses in fourteen states. The 2,400 photographs of Washington, D.C., constitute the most comprehensive regional survey in the collection and include views of all public monuments and outdoor sculpture, government buildings, churches, high schools, and colleges as well as most grade schools, libraries, fire and police stations, large apartment buildings, chanceries, banks, department stores, hotels, theaters, bridges, large office buildings, and a selection of smaller commercial structures and houses. Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are also well represented with over 750 photographs each.

The black-and-white negatives are numbered and reproduced as contact prints, mounted in albums. They are listed in a geographically arranged card file in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.


U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, "Former Employee Gives Architectural Photographs to LC," U.S. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, (Z733.U57I6) v. 37, October 6, 1978: 607-608.


Note: Information for this entry was compiled in the late 1970's for inclusion in: Special Collections in the Library of Congress: A Selective Guide. Compiled by Annette Melville. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1980. The entry was revised in 2000.
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  October 22, 2010
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