Artstor Is… American Studies
We welcome our United States users back to their desks after the Independence Day holiday weekend with a pointer: The Digital Library provides thousands of images related to American Studies ranging from colonial times to the present, including photography, architecture, decorative arts, graphic design, painting, and sculpture.
The Artstor Digital Library is rich with collections that cover general American history. Notable ones include: Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress): pictorial overview of American history, including images of prints, posters, maps, manuscript pages, photographs, design, movie stills, and cartoons; Native American Art and Culture (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution): historic photographs documenting Native American subjects (portraits, scenes, etc.); Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection (Harvard University): portraits of women’s work, key participants in the women’s suffrage movement and larger women’s rights movement, as well as women involved in organized labor and vocational training; Richard F. Brush Art Gallery (St. Lawrence University): photographs documenting the Vietnam War and protests and demonstrations it engendered in the United States; George Eastman House: early photographs of the American West by William Henry Jackson and Carleton Watkins, and portraits by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, widely considered the first masters of photography in the United States; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: Circus Collection: images documenting the history of the circus in America; Historic American Sheet Music Covers (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): sheet music covers in this collection date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (1898-1923); The Rogovin Collection: social documentary photography of the poor and working class, and his depictions of their lives, communities, and working conditions; Century Magazine Illustrations of the American Civil War (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): images depicting Civil War battle scenes and camp life, as well as details of weapons and uniforms; and Tenniel Civil War Cartoon Collection (Minneapolis College of Art and Design): John Tenniel’s full-page cartoons of the American Civil War in British humor magazine Punch.
The Digital Library also offers many resources on American art and architecture. Among the highlights: Carnegie Arts of the United States: history of American art, architecture, visual and material culture; Ralph Lieberman: Architectural Photography: architecture and public sculpture in the United States, particularly museum architecture in the Midwest and New England; Dov Friedman: American and European Architecture: historic and contemporary architecture in the United States; Community Murals (Timothy Drescher): contemporary community murals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.; Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (Library of Congress): a systematic record of early buildings and gardens in the American South; and Terra Foundation for American Art: art of the colonial era through 1945.
Also of note, Magnum Photos features iconic photographs documenting the history and culture of the United States from the 1940s to the present. Cornell Capa covered major political events, such as the electoral campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Following Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, Paul Fusco captured fleeting images of the thousands of mourners who lined the tracks as Kennedy’s body was carried by funeral train from New York to Washington, DC. Throughout the 1960s, Magnum photographers chronicled the struggles of African-Americans to achieve racial equality, photographing demonstrations, protests, marches, and speeches by prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, especially Martin Luther King, Jr. The Magnum collection includes images of current events in the United States, from on-the-ground photographs of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005, to Barack Obama’s election in 2008.
Find hundreds of thousands of further American images by choosing Browse > Geography > United States. Choose a Classification to narrow your results.
For teaching ideas, see our Sample Topic on American Studies. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download Artstor’s Subject Guides.