Collection digitized? Generally, no. A selected
image is included here to give a sample of the collection.
The Seagram County Court House Archives, a collection of more than 11,000 photographic
negatives and 2,500 master prints, was presented as a gift, with its copyright
ownership, to the Library of Congress in 1980 by Joseph E. Seagram and Sons,
Inc. To mark the Bicentennial of the United States of America, Joseph E. Seagram
and Sons, Inc. commissioned twenty-four photographers to record more than 1,100
county court houses using both color and black and white film. The project,
directed by Phyllis Lambert and edited by Richard Pare, created the most comprehensive
survey to date of a type of American building.
American County Court Houses
The county court house has been central to the democratic system of government
since the beginnings of this nation. It continues to be the place where citizens
debate and vote on the conduct of the populace and the legal issues affecting
their daily lives, where they settle their differences, keep the peace, record
their property, pay their taxes, and set down births and deaths. Over the last
200 years the scale, form, and materials of these structures have reflected
the prosperity, aspirations, and geographic and cultural diversity of the nation's
people. From the simplest vernacular structures to the grandest expressions
in stone, steel, and glass, the development of the architectural heritage of
the United States can be observed in its court houses. According to Phyllis
Lambert, the "project was the first undertaking of its kind, its aim, to
produce a cross section of American architecture from geographical and historical
points of view. Beginning in 1725, and concluding with buildings still under
construction, the Seagram Archive pays particular attention to the eastern states,
the Midwest and Texas and California."
The twenty-four photographers commissioned by Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc.,
Charles H. Traub
Project editor Richard Pare described their work: "...twenty-four photographers
were commissioned to work in widely distributed areas of the country. Each brought
insights and a personal vision to the project, creating a far richer resource
than conformity could have accomplished. The subject itself was closely enough
refined to set its own limits within which the widest possible freedom was available
to the photographers. The pictures they made enabled me to see the subject from
constantly changing points of view..."
Two publications provide introduction and access to the images:
- Pare, Richard, editor. Court House, a Photographic Document.
New York: Horizon Press, 1978. 255 pgs.; 350 illustrations.
LC Call Number: NA4475,U6 C68.
This beautifully illustrated, landmark publication provides an introduction
and overview of the history of the court house and the photographs taken
for the project.
Although reproduction numbers are not provided in the publication, they
can be obtained by consulting an annotated copy in the Prints and Photographs
Division Reading Room, or by citing the plate number and relevant data from
the caption in a request made to the Division's reference staff.
- County Court Houses of the United States: The Seagram County Court
House Archives and Other Photographic Collections in the Library of Congress.
Essex, N.Y.: Dunlap Society, 1981. 2 vols., 180 fiche
LC Call number: NA4471.C67
This microfiche publication represents the Seagram photographs as well
as selected views from collections in the Library of Congress (see Related
Collections). The two volumes are arranged in geographical order (by
state, then county). Each fiche contains explanatory material at the front.
The microfiche is available in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.
2500 master prints by the twenty-four photographers are available for study in
the Prints and Photographs Division Reading Room as examples of the best of their
work. These prints are a primary resource for photographers and scholars. Filed
as LOT 11936, they are arranged first by name of photographer and then in geographical
Reproduction numbers of individual photos can be obtained by using the microfiche
publication, County Court Houses of the United States: The Seagram County
Court House Archives and Other Photographic Collections in the Library of Congress
or by viewing the master prints. Patrons are welcome to contact the Prints and
Photographs Division to determine the reproduction number of an image.
Once a reproduction number is known, photographic prints or transparencies
can be ordered directly from the Library of Congress, Duplication
Services, Washington, D.C., 20540-4570 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
telephone: 202-707-5640). Order forms, a price list, and order instructions
will be provided on request.
There are no restrictions on the use of photographs from this collection for personal
reference, consultation, or study. Written permission from the Library of Congress
is required for publication or display and will be granted when conformity to
certain guidelines is assured. Requests to publish or display selected images
from this collection may be made using P&P
Supplemental Material, Seagram Bicentennial County Court House Archives
An important aspect of the Seagram Bicentennial Court House project was the
compilation of a variety of source material on county court houses. As a result,
the collection contains 425 files of research material on specific court houses
which consist primarily of correspondence with all the county governments as
well as many organizations involved directly or peripherally with the court
house. These files contain 5,000 survey response letters, in addition to news
clippings, articles, citations in books, pamphlets, county reports, court house
feasibility studies, dedication brochures, postcards, snapshots, and unpublished
local histories and manuscripts.
Referred to as Supplemental Material, and filed by state, county, then city,
these 425 files are offsite and an appointment is necessary to arrange for their
retrieval. The presence of a written file for a particular court house is indicated
in the microfiche publication County Courthouses of the United States
in one of two ways. First, it is indicated by an asterisk in front of the county
seat name in the first fiche for each state's front section. Second, the presence
of a file is indicated by a pyramid shape following the photo caption for a
particular court house.
The Prints and Photographs Division also has three volumes of data sheets collected
in 1977 facilitate the publication of Court House. These contain
xeroxes of photographs and typed information, such as county names, former court
houses, architects, date(s), descriptions, additions, and sources.
These materials are stored offsite and therefore are not immediately accessible.
Retrieval can be arranged in ten business days or less by filling out call slips
for individual court houses, supplying state/county/city information, and marking
the slip "Seagram offsite - supplemental material (PR 06 CN 816)."
Please consult Division reference staff for assistance.
Other Visual Collections
Court house photographs from the following collections are included in the
1981 microfiche County Court Houses of the United States, described
This bibliography is arranged in three parts by type of geographic coverage: national,
regional, and state. With the exception of Paul Goeldner's dissertation, and the
National Society of Colonial Dames guides, this selection is limited to more recent
publications. Books on individual court houses are not included.
Joseph S. Allen
This survey of 11,427 architectural photographs, taken chiefly
1945 to 1967 of twenty-seven eastern and Midwestern states, includes almost
900 court houses, including all the court houses in fourteen states. In
general the court houses are presented as overall views. The photographs
are in LOT 11661. (See collection
summary for more information.)
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Over 400 court houses are documented in measured drawings,
photographs, and/or pages of written information made ca. 1933 to the present.
National Society of Colonial Dames of America
Court houses in thirty-seven states were surveyed in the
1960s as part of a project sponsored by the National Society of Colonial
Dames of America to publish state guides to court houses (see bibliography,
below). The visual materials made or collected for the project were deposited
in the Prints and Photographs Division and are filed in LOTS 11851 to 11887.
Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture
This project, funded by the Carnegie Foundation from 1930
to 1938, collected negatives of important pre-20th century U.S. architecture
from a wide range of amateur and professional photographers. Over two dozen
examples of court houses are included in this collection and are accessible
through a geographically based card index. (See collection
summary for more information.)
Wittemann Brothers, Mr. Herman L. Wittemann's Brooklyn-based
company, later known as the Albertype Company, produced over 25,000 photoprints
which were used in postcard and souvenir booklets from ca. 1890 to 1952.
While locally notable buildings comprise the greater part of this collection,
court houses are included at times as a central focus or as part of the
streetscape. Although the collection was dispersed in the Division, images
of court houses can be found in the Specific Subject File under the heading
Detroit Publishing Company
The Detroit Publishing Company photographed American cities,
towns, and resorts, and parks, including local landmarks, buildings, street
scenes, and monuments, primarily from 1898 to 1912. Over 100 court houses
throughout the United States are represented. The collection is available
online in PPOC.
Detroit Publishing Company records containing the words "court house"
"courthouse" or "courthouses"]
Hardenbergh, Don. Retrospective of Courthouse Design, 1980-1991.
Williamsburg: National Center for State Courts, 1992. LC Call Number: NA4471.H38
20th century court houses; their designs and plans.
Pare, Richard, ed. Court House: A Photographic Document. New York:
Horizon Press, 1978. LC Call Number: NA4475.U6 C68
The 350 illustrations provide an overview of the Seagram County Court House
Goeldner, Paul. "Temples of Justice: Nineteenth Century Courthouses in
the Midwest and Texas," unpublished Ph.D dissertation Columbia University,
New York, 1970. LC Call Number: NA4471.G63 1970a [P&P]
Includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Dreyfuss, John J., ed. A History of Arizona's Counties and Courthouses.
Tucson: National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Arizona,
1972. LC Call Number: F811.D7
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Arkansas. A Survey
of Arkansas Court Houses. [Little Rock?]. 1965-1968. LC Call Number:
McDevitt, Ray. Courthouses of California: An Illustrated History.
Berkeley, Calif.: California Historical Society, 2001. LC Call Number: NA4472.C2
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America Resident in the State of
California. Counties and Courthouses of California: A Survey. 1964.
LC Call Number: F862.N26 1964
Virden, William L. Cornerstones and Communities: A Historical Overview
of Colorado's County Seats and Courthouses. Loveland, Colorado: Rodgers
& Nelson Pub., 2001. LC Call Number: NA4472.C6 V57 2001
Pitkin, James Sherman, Mrs., comp. Court House Survey of Connecticut.
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Connecticut,
1968. LC Call Number: KFC3678.P5
Dunn, Hampton. Historic Florida Courthouses. Gloucester Point,
Va.: Hallmark Pub., 1998. LC Call Number: F312.D794 1998
Jordan, Robert H., and Puster, J. Gregg. Courthouses in Georgia.
Norcross, Ga.: Harrison Co., 1984. LC Call Number: NA4472.G4 J6 1984
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Illinois. Historic
Court Houses in Illinois. Compiled by Lucy Miller Sturgis. Illinois:
The Society, 1964. LC Call Number: F547.A15 N38
Counts, I. Wilmer. The Magnificent 92 Indiana Courthouses. Rev.
ed. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1999. LC Call Number: F527.C86
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Iowa. Historical Iowa
Courthouses. Compiled by Mrs. Dwight S. Adams et al. The Society, 1968.
LC Call Number: F627.A15 N3
Pratt, LeRoy G. The Counties and Courthouses of Iowa. Mason City,
Iowa: Klipto Print. & Office Supply Co., 1977. LC Call Number: F622.P69
Stanek, Edward J., and Stanek, Jacqueline. Iowa's Magnificent County
Courthouses. Des Moines: Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 1976. LC Call Number:
Davis, Gordon A. Kansas Courthouse Architecture: Traveling Exhibit.
Wichita: Museum Programs, Wichita Public Schools, 1981. LC Call Number: NA4472.K3
Garr, Elisabeth Headley. The History of Kentucky Courthouses; An Illustrated
History of Courthouses and County Historical Data. National Society of
the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Kentucky, 1972. LC Call Number:
Brasseaux, Carl A., et al. The Courthouses of Louisiana. Lafayette:
Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1977. LC
Call Number F370.B72
Sloane, Robert K. The Courthouses of Maine. Woolwich, Maine: Maine
Lawyer's Review, 1998. LC Call Number: NA4472.M2 S59 1998
Radoff, Morris Leon. The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland.
2 vols. Maryland Hall of Records Commission, Publication no. 12-13. Annapolis:
The Commission, 1960-1963. LC Call Number: CD3280.A16 no. 12-13
Peet, George, and Keller, Gabrielle. Courthouses of the Commonwealth:
Photographs. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984. LC Call
Number NA4472.M3 P4 1984
King, Jonathan, et al. The Michigan Courthouse Study. 7 vols.
Ann Arbor: Architectural Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, 1981-
. LC Call Number: NA4472.M5 K56 1981
County Court Houses in Missouri. [St. Louis]: National Society
of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Missouri, 1972. LC Call Number:
Ohman, Marian M. Encyclopedia of Missouri Courthouses. [Columbia]:
University of Missouri-Columbia, Extension Division, 1981. LC Call Number: NA4472.M8
Pace, J. Bradley. Survivors: A Catalog of Missouri's Remaining 19th Century
County Courthouses. [Prairie Village, Kans.: J.B. Pace], 2000. LC Call
Number NA4472.M8 P33 2000
James, Ronald M. Temples of Justice: County Courthouses of Nevada.
Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1994. LC Call Number: NA4472 .N3 J36 1994
[copy in P&P]
Whisenhunt, Donald W. New Mexico Courthouses. Southwestern studies;
monograph no. 57. [El Paso]: Texas Western Press, 1979. LC Call Number: F797.W57
Dierickx, Mary The Architecture of Public Justice: Historic Courthouses
of the City of New York. New York: City of New York, Department of General
Services, 1993. LC Call Number: NA4473 .N5D54 1993 [copy in P&P]
Gotwalt, Helen Louise Miller. Crucible of a Nation: First New York County
Courthouse, 1754-1841. [York, Pa.]: York County Bicentennial Commission,
1977. LC Call Number: F157.Y6 G67
Johnson, Herbert Alan. Historic Courthouses of New York State: 18th and
19th Century Halls of Justice across the Empire State. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1977. LC Call Number: F120.J64
Crane, Paul S. North Carolina Taproots: Courthouses of North Carolina.
Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press, 1998. LC Call Number: F255.C73 1998
Heatherly, Charles. The Courthouses of North Carolina. Norcross,
Ga.: Harrison, 1988. LC Call Number: F255.H45 1988
The Great 88: A Brief Guide to Each of Ohio's 88 Counties and Their Beautiful
Courthouses. [Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Department of Development, 1993].
LC Call Number: NA4472.O3 G74 1993
Stebbins, Clair C. Ohio's Court Houses. [Zanesville, Ohio:], 1980.
LC Call Number: F492.S75
Thrane, Susan W. County Courthouses of Ohio. Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 2000. LC Call Number: NA4472.O3 T48 2000
Grady, Charles. County Courthouses of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City:
Oklahoma Historical Society, 1985. LC Call Number: F695.G73 1985
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Oklahoma. Oklahoma
Counties and Some of Their Courthouses. ed. by Mrs. W. Thomas Thach.
1968. LC Call Number: F702.A15 N3
Wiederhold, Kathleen M. Exploring Oregon's Historic Courthouses.
Corvallis, Oreg.: Oregon State University Press, 1998. LC Call Number: F877.W54
Williams, Oliver P. County Courthouses of Pennsylvania: A Guide.
Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2001. LC Call Number: NA4472.P4 W55 2001
Waddell, Gene, and Liscombe, Rhodri Windsor. Robert Mills's Courthouses
& Jails. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1981. LC Call Number:
NA4472.S6 W33 1981.
Carpenter, John W. John W. Carpenter's Tennessee Courthouses: A Celebration
of 200 Years of County Courthouses. London, Ky.: J.W. Carpenter, 1996.
LC Call Number: F437.C38 1996
Crane, Sophie and Paul. Tennessee Taproots: Courthouses of Tennessee.
Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press, 1996. LC Call Number: F437 .C7 1996
Kelsey, Mavis P. Sr., and Dyal, Donald H. The Courthouses of Texas: A
Guide. College Station: Texas A&M University Press,1993. LC Call Number:
NA4472 .T4 K46 1993 [copy in P&P]
Robinson, Willard B. The People's Architecture: Texas Courthouses, Jails,
and Municipal Buildings. Austin: Texas State Historical Association,
1983. LC Call Number: NA4472 .T4 R63 1983
Bucklen, Mary Kegley and Bucklen, Larrie L. County Courthouses of Virginia,
Old and New. Charleston, W. Va.: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company,
1988. LC Call Number: NA4472 .V8K44 1988 P&P
Lounsbury, Carl. "The Structure of Justice: The Courthouses of Colonial
Virginia." In Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, III,
ed. By Thomas Carter and Bernard L. Herman. Columbia, University of Missouri,
1989. LC Call Number NA705 .P472 volume 3
Peters, John O., and Peters, Margaret T. Virginia's Historic Courthouses.
Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1995. LC Call Number: F227.P377
Jones, Sylvia Case. From Cabin to Cupola: An Illustrated Story of the
County Courthouses and the Counties of Washington. Seattle: Shorey Book
Store, 1971. Compiled for the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.
Washington. LC Call Number: F891.J63
Thrash, Mary. West Virginia Courthouses: A Pictorial History.
Clarksburg, W. Va.: M. Thrash, 1984. LC Call Number: F242.T47 1984
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. West Virginia. West
Virginia's Counties and Courthouses. 1972. LC Call Number: F242.N37 1972
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Wyoming. A Survey
of Wyoming County Courthouses. 1970. LC Call Number: F767.A15 N3
Prepared by: Marilyn Ibach, Reference Specialist, February