About the Photo Archive

Villa of Domitian (Castel Gandolfo, Italy), corridor
Van Deman Collection
Mithraeum Domus Sanctae Priscae (Rome, Italy), iscrizione
Fototeca Unione Collection (founded by Ernest Nash). Property: Fototeca Unione
Forum Romanum, West side from the Clivus Victoriae (Rome, Italy)
Fototeca Unione Collection (founded by Ernest Nash). Property: Fototeca Unione
Decorative Fragment from the Excavations at Cosa (Italy)
Cosa Collection
Arch of the Aqua Antoniniana (Rome, Italy)
Parker Collection of Classical and Medieval Art and Architecture of Italy
Museo Capitolini (Rome, Italy), detail of female statue
Masson Collection
Villa Palmieri, Florence. Elevation drawing by M. Rapuano (Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome, 1927-1930)
Fellows' Work Collection
Stazione Termini, Rome (Italy)
Masson Collection
Market scene, Campo de' Fiori (Rome, Italy)
Masson Collection
The Photographic Archive at the American Academy in Rome
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Notice / Avviso


The Photographic Archive is temporarily closed until further notice.  

L'Archivio Fotografico rimarrà chiuso fino a nuovo avviso.


Security Procedures

The following applies to any visitor to AAR:

  • To enter AAR, you need a photo ID
  • No bag, backpack, or luggage larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm is permitted on the property. There is no possibility to leave large items at the gate

Misure di Sicurezza

Il seguente riguarda lettori e qualunque visitatore dell’AAR:

  • Per entrare nell’AAR è neccessario un documento di identità in corso di validità
  • In tutta la proprietà dell’AAR non possono essere introdotti bagagli, borse, zaini di dimensioni maggiori di cm 40 x 35 x 15. Non c’è modo di lasciare oggetti di dimensioni più grandi nella portineria o dal portiere

About the Photo Archive

The Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome consists of several valuable and specialized collections of photographs on archaeology, architecture and art, as well as landscape architecture and gardens. It also includes special collections important to the history of the Academy.

All these collections have artifactual value for the history of photography, as well as documentary value for the study and research of their specific subject. Some of the collections have a particular historical and archaeological significance because the photographs record excavations and monuments from the early years of modern archaeology.

The photograph collections of the American Academy have been acquired over the years mainly through donations. They represent an exceptional document of the activity of considerable personalities, master photographers as well as scholars, active from the second half of the nineteenth century (Parker collection), to the beginning of the twentieth century (Moscioni, Van Deman, Blake, Askew, Warsher collections), and more recently (Masson, Bini, Laidlaw collections). In recent years (2002–7) the Academy has accepted new gifts, such as the Aronson collection (aerial views of Rome), the Knauer collection (monumental sites in the Mediterranean area and in Northern Europe), the McCann collection (Cosa port excavations and excavations at Pyrgi and Populonia), the Ludwig collection (Reinassance marble tomb reliefs), and the Fikret Yegül Collection (Roman Baths in Mediterranean area).

Other special collections include the Berman collection of scenography, theater costume design, and travel. The Fellows' Work collection is of great value for the Academy's institutional history, as it documents the individual and collaborative projects of Fellows and Visitors in the School of Fine Arts at the American Academy in Rome (1910–58).

Contemporary photography is represented by: architect Toshiko Mori and architectural photographer Paul Warchol (seven photographs depicting the House on the Gulf of Mexico II, Casey Key-FL); a suite of photographs by Abigail Cohen;  ca. seventy works by Jeannette Montgomery Barron (including the photographs displayed at the Academy's exhibition A View of One's Own); four works by Lyle Ashton Harris Studio 4 Roman Stranger's and a portfolio by Denis Gillingwater.

The A Question of Time Collection consists of contemporary images shot by eleven international photographers inspired by the permanent collection of the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome. The project focused on images of Rome and of the famous Campagna Romana (exhibition held at the American Academy in Rome in 2009 and 2010).

In addition to its own collections, the Academy also houses the Fototeca Unione founded by Ernest Nash in 1957. The Fototeca Unione began with the donation of Nash's own archive to the International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, History and History of Art. It is a growing collection focusing on the architecture and topography of the Roman world.

As part of its mission, the Photo Archive of the American Academy in Rome provides online access to digital versions of selected materials from its collections for educational, research, and publishing purposes. The site includes over 42,000 photographic images available in digital form on the Digital Humanities Center DHC Database.

To view sample images from the various collections, visit the Index to the Collections.

Many of the photographic collections have been also cataloged in the Library's catalog.



Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Getty Foundation

Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Society of American Archivists Foundation



Rights and Permission

The study collection contains over 90,000 images, part of which is protected by copyright.

Permission is granted to reproduce the item(s) owned by the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome and Fototeca Unione upon specific request and possible payment.

For further information, please contact photoarchive@aarome.org.

The applicant agrees that the permission, if granted, will be subject to the following conditions:

1. Unless otherwise stated, the applicant must use the following credit line in display and/or publication:

American Academy in Rome, Photographic Archive.
American Academy in Rome, Fototeca Unione Collection.

When appropriate, include the name of the artist, photographer, or author.

2. Applicants may not use reproductions in subsequent editions or in any other form of publication without the submission and approval of a new application.

3. Documents, photographs, slides and trascripts owned by the Archives of the American Academy in Rome may be protected by copyright, trademark or a related interest not owned by the Archive. IT IS RESPONSABILITY OF THE APPLICANT TO DETERMINE WHETHER ANY SUCH RIGHTS EXIST, AND TO OBTAIN NECESSARY PERMISSION FOR USE.

4. The applicant agrees to provide the Photographic Archive and Fototeca Unione of the American Academy in Rome with a copy of the publication (if applicable) in which the Archives materials appear.

Exhibitions and Events

A View of One’s Own. Three Women Photographers in Rome: Esther Boise Van Deman, Georgina Masson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron. A View of One’s Own is curated by Lindsay Harris, Peter Benson Miller, and Angela Piga. Selections from the holdings of the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome has been curated by Lavinia Ciuffa and the Photographic Archive Staff: Maria Sole Fabri, Giulia Ciccarello and Emiliano G. Di Carlo. The exhibition is part of La Quadriennale in città (16° Quadriennale d’Arte) and FOTOGRAFIA, Festival Internazionale di Roma. AAR Gallery, October 13–November 27, 2016; Philadelphia, September 6–November 1, 2017.

Paper, Glass and Plastic: Identification and Care of Photographic Negatives. Masterclass held by Monique Fischer (senior photograph conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover), Lavinia Ciuffa, (acting curator, Photographic Archive, American Academy in Rome) and Sandra M. Petrillo (photograph conservator, SMP Conservation Studio) with the support of the Photographic Archive staff: Maria Sole Fabri, Giulia Ciccarello, and Emiliano G. Di Carlo. AAR Photo Archive, 21–23 May 2018.

Graphic Arts in Dialogue!: Ars Graphica’s annual workshop brings together a group of international specialists to discuss fundamental and current issues concerning the organization, the study and the preservation of the graphic arts (photographic techniques, processes and history of their use). The American Academy in Rome - Photographic Archive was included in this series of study visits together with the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, and the Vatican Library. AAR Photo Archive, 22–23 June 2017.

Exploring American Daguerrotypes. Masterclass with Jeremy Rowe, president of the Daguerreian Society, board of the Ephemera Society of America, senior research scientist at New York University. AAR Photo Archive, 10–13 October 2015.

A Question of Time, Rome, created by Alessandra Capodiferro, Lavinia Ciuffa, Marco Delogu, Matthew Monteith; contributors: Nicola-Louise Brandt, Lindsay Harris, and Francesco Zanot. Photographers 2009: Marco Delogu, Veronique Ellena, Brad Farwell, Matthew Monteith, Luca Nostri, David Spero; photographers 2010: Tim Davis, Marco Delogu, Juan Fabuel, Agnès Geoffray, Graciela Iturbide, Giuliano Matteucci, Tod Papageorge, Leonie Purchas. AAR Gallery, 2009–10.

Roma antica ricostruita nelle fotografie di Giuseppe Gatteschi. AAR Photo Archive, 2006.

Georgina Masson, 1912–1980: Selections from the Photographic Archive. AAR Gallery, 2003.

Esther B. Van Deman: An Archaeologist’s Eye, New York, 2001–2.

Ernest Nash - Ernst Nathan, 1898–1974. Photographie: Potsdam, Rome, New York, Postdam, 2000.

Collaboration on Exhibitions

Eternal City: Rome in the Photographs Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects.  This exhibition at the Vittoriano in Rome has been organised by the Polo Museale del Lazio in association with the RIBA and the British School at Rome. The exhibition brings together a carefully selected set of images from the many thousands that the RIBA holds of the city of Rome, from its landscape to close archaeological detail. The Photo Archive has exhibited images from the Georgina Masson Collection. Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, 28 June - 28 October, 2018.

Alfabeto Fotografico Romano. A great roman exhibition showing photographs from twenty-eight institutions including Soprintendenze, museums, Italian and foreign institutions and the Vatican Museums. The Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome contributed featuring original photographic prints from the Parker, Van Deman collection, the Beato collection, Masson collection, Fototeca Unione collection and also the recently discovered Detweiler collection. Rome, Palazzo Poli, May 16–July 10, 2017.

Roma dall’alto, exhibition and catalogue edited by M. F. Boemi and C. M. Travaglini, Rome, 2006.

Trastevere: Societá e trasformazioni urbane dall’ottocento ad oggi, exhibition and catalogue edited by C. M. Travaglini et al., Rome, 2008.


Alfabeto Fotografico Romano. Collezioni e Archivi fotografici di Istituzioni culturali in Roma (exhibition catalog edited by ICG/ICCD), Roma 2017.

A View of One's Own. Three Women Photographers in Rome: Esther Boise Van Deman, Georgina Masson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron, (exhibition catalog), Roma 2016

A Question of Time, (exhibition catalog edited by Alessandra Capodiferro, Lavinia Ciuffa, Marco Delogu, Matthew Monteith), Roma 2010.

Roma antica ricostruita nelle fotografie di Giuseppe Gatteschi, (exhibition catalog edited by A. Capodiferro), Pescara 2006.

Georgina Masson, 1912–1980: Selections from the Photographic Archive, (exhibition catalog edited by A. Capodiferro and C. Lauf), Milan 2003.

A. Capodiferro in Esther Boise Van Deman: An archaeologist's eye, Images from the Photographic Archive, American Academy in Rome, (exhibition catalog), New York 2001.

Ernest Nash - Ernst Nathan, 1898–1974. Photographie: Potsdam, Rom, New York, (exhibition catalog edited by M. R. Alföldi and M. C. Lahusen), Berlin 2000.

Esther B. Van Deman. Images from the Archive of an American Archaeologist in Italy at the Turn of the Century, (exhibition catalog edited by K. Bull-Simonsen Einaudi), Rome 1991.

Fotografia Archeologica 1865–1914, (exhibition catalog edited by K. Bull-Simonsen Einaudi), Rome 1979.