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Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture

Photographs of American architecture

Prints and Photographs Division

Collection digitized? No.

The Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture (PAEAA) was the first photographic collection for the study of American architecture assembled at the Library of Congress. Initiated by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation in 1930, the PAEAA instituted a national campaign to acquire photographic negatives of seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century buildings in the United States. During its most active period, 1930 to 1938, the PAEAA collected and cataloged approximately ten thousand negatives and photoprints, including series by John Mead Howells, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Delos Smith, Thomas T. Waterman, and Francis M. Wigmore.

The architecture of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia is particularly well represented. The photographers predominantly documented houses, ranging from cabins to mansions, but they included a fair number of churches, courthouses and educational buildings, as well as a smaller number of bridges and street scenes.

Like the Historic American Buildings Survey , which was established a few years later, the collection is organized by state, county, and city. Items are represented in the PAEAA card index and the master card catalog for the architectural collections.

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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  March 25, 2022
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