The Photographic Archive 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 in Rome 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 thirty photographic images available in digital form on the Digital Humanities Center 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. The Askew (the Arch of Septimius Severus), Parker (Roman and Medieval art and architecture in Italy), Van Deman (travels in Europe and North Africa; archaeology, architecture, and building techniques in the Roman world), Blake (studies on italian mosaics), Moscioni (Etruscan sites and art), Gatteschi (reconstruction drawings of Imperial Rome), Beato - Des Granges (archaeology of Egypt), Bini (art and archaeology of Italy and Europe), Cosa and Regia (official photographic documentation of the American Academy in Rome’s excavations in Cosa and Regia in the Roman Forum), Detweiler (archaeology of the Near East), Laidlaw (The First Style in Pompeii), Warsher (Pompeii), Library collection (art and archaeology of Italy and Europe), Masson and Landscape Architecture (landscape architecture and gardens) and the Fellows’ Work (works of art and architecture) collections are online. Other collections are available through inventory lists.
Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
Society of American Archivists Foundation