University of Michigan Photographs Vertical File  1850s-1980s
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The University of Michigan Photographs Vertical File represents a miscellaneous assemblage of U of M-related photographs from many different sources, mainly prior to 1950. The vertical file is especially strong on the earliest photographic images of the campus, university buildings, and class activities. While the vertical file contains many images of individuals, researchers should first consult the library's on-line catalog for images of faculty, administrators, and other University personalities. Most photographs originally accumulated by a University department or other unit are kept with that unit's records.

The arrangement of the photographic images was intended to parallel the classification used with University of Michigan published materials and with manuscript materials. Both of these used a classification system using letters of the alphabet (A through N only) for groupings of published or manuscript material. This system was carried over for use with the library's photographic images though there are certain categories for which images are unlikely to be found (Category A, for example, which pertains to legislation affecting the University or Category I which is reserved for university publications of a scientific or literary nature). The classification is further broken down under each letter by a number code which refers to a more specific subdivision. The heaviest concentration of images will be found under C (for U-M schools and colleges, departments, and other units), D (for university buildings and views), and F (for class pictures, photos of student organizations, and images detailing aspects of student life and customs).

Each heading in this finding aid includes the letter classification plus a numbered subdivision. In addition, the individual envelopes are numbered sequentially. Headings for which there are oversized images (usually larger than 8x10) will be indicated by reference to medium or large size photographs. When requesting material, researchers must specify the heading and the classification and folder number.

This finding aid describes only a small portion of the Bentley Library's U-M visual images. The on-line catalog will direct the researcher to additional images.

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