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Scope and Content

AGSL Digital Photo Archive - Africa presents a selection of images from the extensive photographic holdings of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. These images were selected from the Richard U. Light and Mary (Light) Meader Collection.

This digital collection contains approximately 1080 images from Mary Upjohn Light's aerial photography in 1937-38. Mrs. Light (who later married Dr. Edwin Meader) was an adventurous aerial photographer who flew with Dr. Richard Upjohn Light, a geographer and pilot, over the continents of South America and Africa. They were the first to produce aerial photographs of these continents. Some of the first aerial photographs of the pyramids in Egypt are present in the Light/Meader Collection of negatives. The negatives, and accompanying photos and photography logs, are housed at the American Geographical Society Library and were scanned as part of the 2010-2012 NEH Grant Project to digitize the library's collection of nitrate negatives.

The current selection of the AGSL Digital Photo Archive - Africa focuses on the countries of southern and eastern Africa. The coverage of this digital collection will expand as more photos are added to the site.

The Digital Project

The photographs selected for this project represent a variety of formats, including black and white 5 x 7" cellulose nitrate film. Digital master files in TIFF format are stored at the UWM Libraries. Access images in JPEG format were created from the TIFF files and uploaded into CONTENTdm software for Web delivery. High resolution digital images or prints can be ordered using the online Image Order form.

The photographs were researched and indexed as part of the project to provide additional points of access. Captions provided by the photographers and researchers served as a main source of description. In some cases, AGS' publications, such as Geographical Review were researched to provide additional information. Subject headings were assigned using Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names was used to provide geographic location including names of countries, states/provinces, and cities. All place names are shown as they currently appear in the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.

Project Staff:

Krystyna K. Matusiak
Digital Collections Librarian, UWM Libraries
Susan Peschel
Visual Resources Librarian, American Geographical Society Library, UWM Libraries
Eleanore (Nellie) Bednarek
Staff, Digitization Unit, UWM Libraries
Marilyn Antkowiak
Graduate Student Assistant, Digitization Unit, UWM Libraries
Tim Blomquist
Graduate Student Assistant, Digitization Unit, UWM Libraries
Shauna Borger
Digitization Intern, Digitization Unit UWM Libraries
Diane Claeys
Graduate Intern, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Amanda Wynne
Graduate Intern, History Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Copyright and Permissions

AGSL Digital Photo Archive is published by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. Copyright 2007 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

The images may be copied by individuals or libraries for personal use, research, teaching or any "fair use" as defined by copyright law. Fair use of copyright-protected works for study, research, and other purposes does not require the permission of the copyright owner provided that the use meets the standard specified in Section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law.

Use Order Images form to request high-resolution digital reproductions of images.

Permission to reproduce materials in this collection for publication or distribution must be obtained from the American Geographical Society Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. Please see the Permission Form for Reproduction of Materials at:

Contact Information

Please send us your comments or suggestions regarding the collection.

Phone: 414-229-2214
Mailing address:
Digitization Unit
UWM Libraries
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO BOX 604
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0604
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