1. Parenting
Send to a Friend via Email

Historic Photos & Photo Collections

Discover thousands of free historic photos for use in your family history projects in these online collections of digitized historic photos and portraits. The historic photos include military and war photos, images of people and places around the world, and a collection from turn-of-the-century America.
  1. Related: Vintage Postcards

Historical Photo Collections Online
Search for historic photographs of people, cities, towns, landmarks, and events in these large online historical photo collections.

10 Don't Miss Historical Photo Collections on Flickr
Don't miss these beautiful online galleries of historic photographs on Flickr, contributed by library, archive and historical society collections.

America's First Look into the Cameras, 1839-1864
Search this collection of more than 725 daguerreotype portraits, views and street scenes dating from 1839 to 1864 from the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress.

American Memory - Prints & Photographs
From baseball to the Civil War to panoramic views of America's small towns, the American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress includes millions of digitized photos and records.

Australia Pictures Catalogue
From the National Library of Australia, this searchable database of historical pictures includes about 60,000 digitized, documentary photographs of Australia and Australians, dating from 1850-2003.

Bildarchiv Foto Marburg
Over 2 million digitized historic photos and scanned art images are accessible in this photograph archive from Germany. In German.

BYU Historical Photographs
The online collection at Brigham Young University includes over 15,000 historic photos from a number of prominent photographers - primarily of Utah and the American West.

California Heritage Collection
Take a step back into California's history with this collection of more than 30,000 photographs relating to California history and culture.

Canadian Heritage Gallery
Search or browse this extensive collection of Canadian people, places, and wars for photos to bring life to your Canadian family history. Includes pictures of immigrants, First Nations, city maps and plans, transportation, fur trade, and much more.

Canadian National Railway Historic Photograph Collection
An interesting look at the significant role that railways have played in the development of Canadian society, this site includes many photos of locomotives, passenger trains, structures & operations, and freight trains.

Ellis Island Passenger Ship Search
Search for pictures of the ships which brought immigrants to America in this handy search tool by Steve Morse. Searches the Ellis Island site, as well as several other databases of ship photos.

The Francis Frith Collection
Search through over 50,000 online photos of towns and villages in Britain, taken between 1860 & 1970. The entire collection (not yet all digitized) encompasses over 365,000 photographs and over 7,000 towns and villages.

Heritage Images Online
Three significant historic photo collections (Winkelmann, Firth, and Schmidt) have been catalogued, scanned, and made available online. The historic photos include scenes and people from Auckland and all over New Zealand, plus over 4,500 portraits of WWI soldiers from New Zealand.

Historic Brooklyn Photographs
Browse a selection of historic photos from the Brooklyn Collection, including people, streets, buildings, monuments, neighborhoods and schools of Brooklyn, New York.

Historic Photo Archive
View digitized images from the private collections of over 2000 studios and deceased photographers. The majority of the historic photos in this collection pertain to the U.S. state of Oregon.

Historic Photographs Australia
Search many thousands of historic photos from the 1800's and early to mid 1900's in this collection featuring hundreds of towns and suburbs, and dozens of other areas of interest including transport, trains & railways, famous people & places, aircraft, pioneers, automobiles, sports and cultural & historical events.

Images Canada
Available in both English and French, Images Canada provides central search access to thousands of pictures from various Canadian cultural institutions. Find pictures of Canadian people, historical events, places, and things.

Images of England
Search for pictures of buildings in your ancestor's village in this digital library of photographs of England's 370,000 listed buildings, including churches, churchyard monuments, castles, schools, and even windmills.

Life Magazine Covers
Historical events, important people, and everyday life are depicted in this database of the covers of Life magazine from 1936 to 1972, the years in which it was published weekly. Search by date or subject keywords.

Military History Institute Photographs
If your ancestor served in the military, the MHI has photographs of civil war figures and soldiers. Other wars are represented as well, up to the Vietnam War. Connection is not always reliable.

National Portrait Gallery
Search the collection records of the National Portrait Gallery and The Catalog of American Portraits which contain photographs and documentation for over 100,000 portraits of historically significant Americans, or by American artists. You never know when you may find a portrait of a relative!

New York Public Library Picture Collection Online
Search by keyword or browse by index to view historic photos from this collection of 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923.

Oregon Historic Photos Collection
Browse or search for photographs of Oregon, with special focus on the cities of Salem and other Willamette Valley communities. Enjoy thousands of historic photos dating to the mid 1800s, from the digital collections of the Salem Public Library.

Picture Australia
Search for people, places and events in various significant historic photo collections in Australia and abroad through this online search engine. Picture Australia provides access to photos and images that cover all aspects of Australia.

San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection
Approximately 250,000 historic photos of San Francisco and California are included in this online photograph collection. Historic photos represent the years 1850 to the present, and cover subjects ranging from the great earthquake and fire of 1906 to family photos of everyday San Francisco.

The Ships List - Pictures
Find a picture of the ship or immigration port in which your ancestor arrived in America.

Touring Turn-of-the-Century America
This collection of photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company Collection includes over 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies as well as about 300 color photolithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum - Photo Archives
Historic photographs of the Holocaust, gathered from institutions and individuals around the world, document anti-Jewish activities, principally in Europe during the Hitler years (1930s-1945).

USDA Historical Photos
This collection of historic photos includes more than 400 images portraying rural and small town American life. Most of these historic photos were taken between 1937 and 1943 during the Farm Security Administration (FSA) era.

Western History Photo Digitization Project
Pictures from the American West are the highlight of this collection of almost 100,000 digital photos, including images of railroads, mining, frontier towns, American Indians, ranch life, migration, and pioneers. From the Denver Public Library and Colorado Historical Society.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.