Scope and Contents
The Ira Wolff Photographic History collection contains approximately 7,000 original photographs, along with related periodical clippings and ephemera, acquired by the collector Ira Wolff. The bulk of the photographs date from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, offering insight into the invention of photography, the scientific and technical components of its development, vernacular photographic practices, and the medium’s role in social and cultural documentation.
The collection contains examples of a wide range of photographic and photomechanical processes and photographic formats: albumen prints, collotypes, cyanotypes, carte de visites, daguerreotypes, dye transfer prints, gelatin silver prints, photogravures, photo lithographs, platinum prints, salt prints, stereographs, tintypes, and woodburytypes. The explosion of commercial photography in the 1860s-1870s is documented through numerous cartes de visite, stereographs, and cabinet cards; the rise of amateur photography is documented through multiple examples of early Kodak prints from the 1890s. Images by well-known photographers include an 1844 calotype by William Henry Fox Talbot to numerous 1860s photographs of India by Samuel Bourne. Vernacular photography is heavily represented in the collection, with examples including a hand-painted portrait of an African-American soldier in the Spanish-American war and an early twentieth-century memorial album commemorating a woman who died in childbirth, among numerous other examples.
- 1816 - 2000
- Majority of material found within 1850 - 1950
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research
From the Collection: 100 linear feet
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository
1720 Pleasant Street
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States