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Stereograph cards collection

Identifier: P057

Scope and Contents

This collection includes stereograph cards from C. L. Jenney and Company, Frank M. Lackey, and R. Gordon in Indianapolis, Indiana and Sterro-Photo Co. in Dolgeville, New York, ranging from circa 1861 to 1916 regarding an enacted scene of a Union soldier leaving and returning to his paramour during the U.S. Civil War; the Indiana centennial pageant in Riverside Park in Indianapolis in October, 1916; and the exterior and interior of Pierce-Vinton-Krull house in Indianapolis.


  • circa 1861-1916

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

"Stereographs consist of two nearly identical photographs or photomechanical prints, paired to produce the illusion of a single three-dimensional image, usually when viewed through a stereoscope. Typically, the images are on card mounts, but they may take the form of daguerreotypes, glass negatives, or other processes. Stereographs were first made in the 1850s and are still made today. They were most popular between 1870 and 1920.

In 1851 stereo daguerreotypes were exhibited for the first time to the general public at the London International Exhibition (Crystal Palace). Shortly thereafter, American photographers began making stereographs. One of the first American photographic firms to produce stereographs was the team of William and Frederick Langenheim. The Library owns a set of their early stereoviews of American cities on the East Coast.

By 1860 both amateur photographers and publishing firms were making stereographs. The major stereo publishers sold their views by mail order, door-to-door salesmen, and in stores. Stereographs were sold individually and in boxed sets.

Stereographs are usually mounted. They were typically published with caption information printed under the image or on the back of the mount. The mount also provided information about the publisher, photographer, and sometimes the series or a list of views available from the photographer or publisher.

Stereographs were collected by many middle-class families in the late 19th century. People acquired stereographs of tourist sites they had visited, as well as exotic locales that they would only experience through the wonder of the stereoscope. Viewing stereographs was a common activity, much like watching television or going to the movies today. Stereoviews were also used as an education tool in classrooms."

Source: Library of Congress. "Stereograph Cards." Accessed August 4, 2021.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as donations from Karl W. Fischer on May 20, 1933, the Krull family estate in 1966, and others.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/08/04 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2021/08/04 by Brittany Kropf.
Stereograph cards collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.