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Boston & Its Neighborhoods


Images: Paintings, Pictures, Illustrations, Photographs, Sculpture

The keyword, "Boston," was used to search many of the online image databases listed below to give some idea of the quality and quantity of the images retrieved. Researchers usually search for a specific building, place, or work of art.

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920: "Boston"

A collection of lantern slides digitized by the Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Graduate School of Design for the Library of Congress' American Memory web site. 395 items offer views of Boston, specific buildings, parks, estates and gardens, including a complete history of Boston's park system. Also some plans, maps, and models.

AP Images

"Associated Press' current year's photo report and a selection of images from their vast negative and print library dating from the 1840s."

Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955: "Boston"

67 photographs including interior views of Guild House, Jordan Marsh, Best & Co., and the Animal Rescue League.


For best results, use Advanced Search.

Berenice Abbott Boston Photographs.

Boston Athenaeum Digital Collection. "These twenty-four photographs of Boston were taken in 1934 by the modernist photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)."

Boston 1900-1910

American Memory, Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, 1880-1920.  278 results containing "boston 1900-1910."

Boston African Americana Project

Boston Athenaeum. " Coordinated by the Boston Athenaeum, the Boston African Americana Project gathers visual and textual materials held by the Athenaeum, the Bostonian Society, Historic New England, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Digitized materials relating to African Americans fall broadly within the categories of slavery, the abolition movement, free blacks, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, rural life, urban life, social life, advertising, and depictions of men, women, and children, and consist of broadsides, caricatures, illustrations, manuscripts, pamphlets, political cartoons, portraits, and views. The database contains images and transcriptions of over five hundred items spanning the years 1770 to 1950, with the bulk of the collection falling around 1865."

Boston and Vicinity, American stereoscopic views

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Boston Architecture Reference File.

Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This is "a card index of references to written descriptions, critiques, histories, illustrations, renderings and plans of Boston buildings and their architects. Most references are to published sources, although they may refer to original photographs, architectural drawings and other unpublished materials in the collections of this and other libraries."

Boston Art Archives/New England Art Information File.

Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This file, begun in 1885 as a vertical file of ephemera on Boston artists, has expanded to cover New England artists, as well as contemporary artists across the country who are not adequately covered in reference sources. The file includes "exhibition announcements, calendars of events, gallery/organization newsletters, press releases, reviews of exhibitions, checklists and small exhibition catalogs, obituaries, illustrations, gallery histories, bibliographies on artists, and miscellaneous biographical information." Also indexed are the records of individual artists exhibiting in shows of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the Boston Society of Independent Artists, and the Boston Art Club.

Boston Art Guide, Boston Art Dealers Association (BADA).

Current information on exhibitions, receptions, etc. at museums, galleries, and other venues

Boston at the Movies: First Films of the City, 1901-1905

Boston Public Library. Flickr.

Boston Fire Historical Society

This site provides an illustrated chronological history of the Boston Fire Department from 1600's to 1859.  The several pages on Fires, Apparatus, etc. provide links to newspaper articles and photographs.  See also below "Great Fire of 1872."

Boston Gas Company Photographs

John J. Burns Library, Boston College. This collection of approximately 4,500 photographs documents various construction projects and provides candid portraits of employees at work and at company sponsored social activities. Almost 400 images, dating from 1882 to 1972, are available on the Web. The browser, Internet Explorer, must be used to retrieve images.

[Boston] Globe Insiders: From the Archives

"For 140 years, the Globe has been publishing stories and photographs chronicling life in Boston... through two world wars, the Great Molasses Flood and the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919, the Brinks Robbery of 1950, and hundreds of other historical events — those documents were clipped, annotated, and archived by Globe librarians. The library holds a trove of incredible images, some never before published, that reveal a Boston that is rarely seen."  See Boston University Commencement, May 1942 in College Commencements in Boston.

Boston Herald Traveler Photo Morgue, Boston Public Libray.

"500,000 of the 650,000 photographs in the Print Department are from the Boston Herald-Traveler Photo Morgue, the one-time working photo archive of a major Boston newspaper. The collection covers the years from ca.1906 to 1972 when the newspaper shut down and was absorbed into the present day Boston Herald. The holdings include photographs by staff photographers, photo services and contributing photographers. The Morgue is organized into both biographical and subject files on local, national and international subjects."

Boston Illustrated

Edward Stanwood. 1873. (Internet Archive)

"Boston" in Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum

List of nearly 200 works of art, mainly paintings, depicting Boston scenes by well-known artists, such as Hassan and Prendergast, and less well-known artists, such as Coates and Goodwin, mainly from the 19th century. Brief catalog records providing basic information and current owner. No online images. For illustration(s) of the art work, click on its title; the record may provide a reference to illustration(s) in a journal, book, etc.

Boston Landmarks Commission: How to Research a Historic Building in Boston

Links to City of Boston Inspectional Services, Boston Public LIbrary, Massachusetts State House Library, and many more.

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention.

National Trust for Historic Preservation booklet with remarkable photographs of modern buildings including Boston University School of Law Tower, Boston; Sert, Jackson & Gourley, 1961, and some spectacular aerial views of the city.

Boston (Mass.) -- Pictorial Works

Books in Boston University Libraries.

Boston Pictorial Archive.

Print Department, Boston Public Library This is the "largest public collection of photographs of Boston in earlier days."

Boston Picture File.

Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library. This file consists of mounted and unmounted photographs and clippings about Boston buildings, parks, monuments, streets, etc. The material is indexed in the Boston Architecture Reference File. A postcard collection of about 1,500 items depicting Boston buildings is included.

Boston Public Art Walk

Boston Art Commission. Map, key, and images.  Interactive map by neighborhood.

Boston Public Library's photostream on Flickr

Among the sets are Old Boston Photographs, Boston Stereographs, McGreevey Collection (baseball), Trustees' McKim Construction, Boston Brewery Posters, postcards.

Boston Streets: Mapping Directory Data

Tufts University; places, people, moments, cowpaths, Civil War through 20th century.

Bostonian Society Photograph Collection. and Bostonian Society Manuscript Collection. 

Over 3,000 online photographs of Boston streetscapes and views.  Browse the  Manuscript and Photograph collections by Topic Terms, Personal Names, Corporate Names, Geographic Names, and Form or Genre.

Brighton-Allston Historical Society Photo Collection

Comprehensive coverage of Allston-Brighton including history, maps and atlases, neighborhoods, etc. as well as the well-documented Photo Collection.

Built in America Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS]/Historic American Engineering Record [HAER]1933-Present: "Boston"

159 Boston properties, including private homes, commercial and municipal buildings, churches, and bridges, have been added to the collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress documenting architecture, engineering, and design accomplishments in the United States. Search also by neighborhood.,

City Seen, The

Boston Globe. "Over the course of two years, Globe photographer Suzanne Kreiter captured hidden views, seldom-seen images, and unexpected sounds around Greater Boston." Includes audio.

COB Landmarks/Archaeology's photostream.

City of Boston.  Photos of Charlestown, Back Bay, and the Central Business District.

City of Boston Archives: Online Collections

"Boston has the oldest city archive in the United States and has recently embarked on an ambitious program to digitize more photos, maps, and other pieces of visual ephemera. This site offers a number of thematic photo collections, including ones dedicated to public institutions, city landmarks, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and public celebrations.

...the Peter H. Dreyer collection, which was gifted to the city by this well-known photographer. The 470 images in the collection document the city during the Bicentennial and in an era when the entire Hub was a bit less gentrified. The Bridge and Ferry photographs document the city's diverse set of engineering landmarks, along with images of the various machines and the men that crafted each of these unique structures.

Finally, the School Department area offers up historic shots of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and other notable institutions."  Review in Scout Report [KMG]

Cumulus Image Database

Art History Department, Boston University.

Detroit Publishing Company Postcards

210 postcards depicting buildings, parks, etc. of Boston.  See also: Greetings from Boston: Vintage Postcards, Boston Public Library.

A Digital Archive of American Architecture: Boston Architecture

Jeffery Howe, Boston College. Mainly recent photographs of significant buildings from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Includes a history of the landfills project and old postcard and current views of Copley Square.

Digital Commonwealth

Use Advanced Search to find images relating to Boston.

Farber Gravestone Collection

David Rumsey, American Antiquarian Society. 1,059 photographs of gravestones in Boston and the neighborhoods. Click on Browser, then search by keywords=Boston. Double click on image for larger version and for additional image data (click on icon).

Frederick Law Olmsted: Boston's Emerald Necklace

Library of Congress. A page from the American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920 study collection of the Harvard School of Design.

Frederick Law Olmsted: Boston's Emerald Necklace

Christopher Glenn Parker. A page from a comprehensive site devoted to the life and works of Frederick Law Olmsted. Also links to short descriptions of Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Franklin Park, Muddy River, and Back Bay Fens.

Great Buildings in Boston

Kevin Matthews and Artifice, Inc. General interest site with photographs, commentary, and bibliography of 10 buildings including Fanueil Hall, 1762, 1805, 1971-1976; Hancock Place, and the New England Aquarium.

Great Fire of 1872

This site links to resources from the making of the documentary, "Damrell's Fire," for public television, April 2006. Many photographs are from the Boston Public Library's Boston Pictorial Archive.

Guild of Boston Artists.

The Guild of Boston Artists is a non-profit professional organization of painters and sculptors whose purpose is to promote, nurture and encourage traditional art while adhering to the highest standards of quality and presentation.  Jean Nutting Oliver, "The Guild of Boston Artists at the Art Museum", American Magazine of Art, Vol. 7, No. 7 (May 1916) pp. 264-270.

Historic New England

This  organization was formerly SPNEA, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.  It describes itself as "a museum of cultural history that collects and preserves buildings, landscapes, and objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present and uses them to keep history alive and to help people develop a deeper understanding and enjoyment of New England life and appreciation for its preservation."  Its photographic and print collections include many views of Boston buildings and street scenes.

Images of America Series: Boston.

Dover, N.H. and Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, various dates, various call numbers.

  • Images of America Series: Boston. Dover, N.H. and Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, various dates, various call numbers.  For more titles search by the author, Anthony Mitchell Sammarco. Photographic books of Boston and its neighborhoods in the Mugar Library, Boston University, collection.  In print.

Photographic books of Boston and its neighborhoods in the Mugar Library, Boston University, collection.  In print.


Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts

This collection offers digital images of 840 visual materials that illustrate the role of Massachusetts (especially Boston) in the national debate over slavery. Included are photographs, paintings, sculptures, engravings, artifacts, banners, and broadsides that were central to the debate and formation of the antislavery movement.

Internet Archive

Mainly books. Use Advanced Search for best keyword results.To find books on Boston contributed by the Boston Public Library, type Boston in the title field and BPL in the contributor field.

MACRIS: Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System: Search by Location

Records for 16,357 properties listed  by street address. From the menu, select “Boston.”  INV indicates Massachusetts Historical Commission information. NR indicates nomination forms of the National Register of Historic Places, US Department of the Interior, National Park Service.  Not all properties have INV and/or NR records.  Photographs of buildings.

Massachusetts State House Postcards.

Views of the State House from various perspectives near the building and away from it.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Boston (Mass.)

Almost 1,900 prints and stereographs.

New York Public Library Picture Collection Online: Boston

Prints from the folder, "American History--1775," includes depictions of the Boston Massacre, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Boston Tea Party.

Old Boston Photograph Collection

Boston Public Library.  Late 19th century photographs of historic sites found in the BPL in 2007.  Photographers unknown; "we believe that the prints represent the work of photographers affiliated with the Boston Camera Club..."

Panoramic Views of Boston

American Memory, Library of Congress. Four views taken from the Ames Building in 1894 and 124 other scenes.

Penny Postcards from Massachusetts: Suffolk County

" These postcards cost 1¢ to mail. Postage was temporarily raised to 2¢ from 1917 to 1919 to cover the cost of World War I & from 1925 to 1928..."


Books in the Boston University Libraries.

Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index (AECI)

by Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Boston in art work title." 150 titles. AECI indexes "artworks exhibited in the United States and Canada up through 1876 (the Centennial year)." NO ONLINE IMAGES.

Prints & Photographs (Library of Congress) Online Catalog

Search subject "Boston" yields 500 images, including those from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), of various buildings and scenes. Over 300 additional items are related in some way to Boston although sometimes only as the location of the item. For WPA art, search "WPA and Boston."

"Re-imagining Boston's City Hall building,"

Casey Ross and Marino Eccher, Boston Globe, April 7, 2010. See related links following the article.

Reviving Boston's Marketplace

by Benjamin Thompson, 1975. (Internet Archive)

Save America's Treasures: Massachusetts

a public private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture Catalogs

Search title keyword "Boston" yields almost 800 records of art works in public and private collections.


Architecture Visual Resources Library, University of California, Berkeley. "SPIRO contains surrogate images of photographs and drawings from approximately 2,000 books, 200 periodical titles, and 100 postcards, posters, and calendars. SPIRO also contains surrogate representations of slides from 25 slide vendors and 220 donors." Search LOCATION="Boston" yields over 200 images of Boston buildings with documentation.

Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas, and Stadiums: 1872-1972

Boston Public Library.

Sumner Tunnel (Boston): Construction Photographs, 1929-1933.

Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston Digital Archives.  64 black-and-white photographs documenting construction of the first Boston Harbor tunnel, later named Sumner Tunnel which opened in 1935.

Thompson's Island: Photograph collection, ca 1832-1990.

Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston Digital Archives.  " 1835 the Boston Aylum for Indigent Boys and the Boston Farm School Society merged and moved to the Island as the Boston Aylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys, popularly called the Boston Farm School."

Two Hundred Views of Boston and Historical Surroundings: reproduced from the latest photographs (1907)

(Internet Archive)