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Subject Photographs -- Print File

 Collection 0299-MDHC

This collection contains photographs related to state of Maryland history and culture, and documents a wide variety of subjects, including private residences, civic and public buildings, events, furnishings, streets, agriculture, and organizations. The bulk of the photographs in the collection are of Baltimore City, thus highlighting life in the city at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. There are also many landscape and architectural photographs that document the geographical and structural features found in Maryland. Photographs of the University of Maryland can be found in the University of Maryland – Print File. Additional photographs of individual and groups of people in Maryland can be found in the Biographical Photographs – Print File.


  • 1868-1975; undated
  • Majority of material found within 1900-1966

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


16.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Subject Photographs – Print Files covers the years 1868 to 1975 (and undated), with the bulk of photographs dating from the 1900s to the 1960s. Most of the photographs are black and white prints, but there are a few cyanotypes and color prints. The creator of the bulk of the photographs is the Hughes Company, located in Baltimore, Maryland. According to the Hughes Studio Photograph Collection at the Maryland Historical Society, the Hughes Company was a commercial studio in Baltimore around the turn of the twentieth century. Founded by James F. Hughes, the company took photographs for corporations, the government, and private individuals.

The bulk of the photographs were taken in Baltimore. The creators of the other photographs are unknown.

Administrative History

The Subject Photographs – Print Files collection consists mainly of images of buildings, furnishings, and events that occurred throughout Maryland over the course of two centuries. Most of the photographs depict houses, buildings, and streets in Baltimore City, some of which may no longer be in existence. Photographs of advertisements for products and places of business from the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries figure prominently in the business enterprises series. The May Oil Burner Corporation figures prominently in this collection, with photographs of advertisements, storefronts, factories, and products found throughout. The collection includes a few photographs of local, state, and national politicians, and prominent citizens, including Mamie Eisenhower with the vice president of B&O Railroad, John Joseph Pershing at the Red Cross Building, and Harry H. Hughes. The collection also contains photographs of some of the oldest houses and estates in Maryland, including the Chase-Lloyd House and White Hall in Annapolis, the Cumberland Toll House, Judge Gabriel Duvall's house Marietta, and a house built by American Revolutionary War patriot Colonel Zadok Magruder. Some of the subjects of the photographs are identified only by their first and last names--in some cases only the last--and no other information is available.


The collection is organized into nine series.

  1. Series 1: Buildings
  2. Series 2: Business Enterprises
  3. Series 3: Events
  4. Series 4: Furnishings and Equipment
  5. Series 5: Military Installations and Forts
  6. Series 6: Other Structures
  7. Series 7: People and Organizations
  8. Series 8: Rural Areas and Agriculture
  9. Series 9: University and College Buildings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Subject Photographs – Print File was assembled between 1972 and 1983 from a variety of accessions and donors, including the University of Maryland Campus Photo Service, the Harry Clifton Byrd collection, the William Amoss papers, the Kenneth Grace papers, the Works Project Administration in Maryland records, and the Philip Geraci collection, as well as many collections accessioned before 1983. While the provenance and custodial history of some of these collections is known and provided in the finding aids for those collections, some lack documentation.

Related Material

The University of Maryland has two collections that are intrinsically linked with the Subject Photographs – Print File because they were previously filed in close proximity to each other and often share provenance. The University of Maryland – Print File contains photographs of the University of Maryland campus. The second collection, the Biographical Photographs – Print File, consists of additional photographs of individual and groups of people in Maryland.

Additionally, another related collection is the Baltimore News American Photographic Collection, which contains over 1.5 million photographs used by the daily newspaper, the Baltimore News American, during its long history. Many of these photos may reflect similar subjects found in the photographs in the Subject Photograph – Print File.

Processing Information

Between 1972 and 1983, staff members of the University of Maryland Libraries removed photographs from various existing campus collections and consolidated them into one collection, designated the Print Files. The Print Files were arranged in three groupings based on subject matter -- the University of Maryland, Biographical, and Subjects. The University of Maryland portion contains photographs from the University of Maryland Campus Photo Service, the Harry Clifton Byrd collection, the William L. Amoss papers, the Kenneth Grace papers, the Works Project Administration in Maryland records, the Philip Geraci collection, and many collections accessioned before 1983. Folders within these groups were arranged in alphabetical order by folder title. The photographs were mounted on white boards and each assigned an accession number. Information from the backs of photographs was recorded on the backs of the boards, but in some cases is incomplete or illegible.

During reprocessing in 2012, folders in the Subject portion of the Print Files were rearranged into series to improve access, and some folders were renamed to more accurately reflect the contents. Photographs were moved to more appropriate folders as necessary. As a result, some of the folder titles originally recorded on the backs of the photographs do not correspond with the titles of the folders to which they were moved. The photographs were rehoused in acid-free archival boxes. Photographs previously separated from the following collections were removed from the print files and returned to those collections: the Work Projects Administration in Maryland records; the William L. Amoss papers; the Kenneth Grace papers; the Romeo Mansueti papers; the Hervey G. Machen papers; the Harry Clifton Byrd papers; William S. Hames; the Maurice Annenberg papers; the Maryland Home Economics Association; and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC). The finding aid and folder list were revised, updated, and expanded in December 2012 to reflect the current arrangement of the collection.

Guide to Subject Photographs -- Print File
Created 1972-1983; Processed by Caitlin Wells and Kate Aras, December 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742