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About the AGSL Digital Photo Archive: Asia and Middle East

AGSL Digital Photo Archive presents a selection of images from the extensive photographic holdings of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. The images were selected from several collections including the American Geographical Society Library Print Collection, the Harrison Forman Collection, the Robert W. McColl Collection, the Bert Krawczyk Collection, the Edna Schaus Sorensen and Clarence W. Sorensen Collection, and the Helmut de Terra Collection.

The American Geographical Society Library Print Collection represents many decades of research and acquisition. The scope of the collection is worldwide. Dating from the mid nineteenth century to the present, these photographs document a wealth of geographic themes. Many of the photographs were originally donated to the American Geographical Society to illustrate its publications, such as the Bulletin and Geographical Review. The images selected for this project include historical photos of Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Korea, Thailand, Nepal, and China.

Clarence Woodrow Sorensen was an explorer, editor, and CBS staff foreign correspondent who traveled extensively capturing images of the life, work, and historical events of cultures worldwide. During Sorenson's extensive travels, Eugene V. Harris, a professional photographer, accompanied him and took many of 64,000 slides that make up the collection. The slides selected for this project include photos of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey that Sorensen and Harris took in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Krawczyk Collection presents approximately 600 images of China and India taken during World War II by Hubert Krawczyk, a young photographer and artist who was stationed in India, and then assigned to the Hunan (Yunnan) Province of China in 1942 through 1945. The negatives 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 negatives are particularly valuable because he made annotations for his photography of Chinese cultural events and document the regional clothing and costumes of the Chinese people during the 1940s.

The Mary Jo Read Collection consists of approximately 250 negatives, supplemented by hand-colored lantern slides and a descriptive journal of her photography. This small collection of negatives was made in 1935 while Mary Jo Read was on vacation in China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. She had a selection of these images made into hand colored lantern slides. The negatives and slides are part of a larger collection of photography housed at the American Geographical Society Library. The negatives were scanned as part of the 2010-2012 NEH Grant Project to digitize the AGSL's collection of nitrate negatives.

The current selection of the AGSL Digital Photo Archive focuses on the countries of Asia and the Middle East. 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 color 35 mm slides and grayscale photographic prints. The images were scanned at the UWM Libraries using film and flatbed scanners. The resulting 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.



The AGS Library and UWM Libraries are grateful for continuing material support for the Digital Photo Archive project from Suzanne and Dr. Robert McColl.

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
Dale William Bryant, 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 © 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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