Nicholson Jennings Photograph Collection
The Library Company of Philadelphia
A brief desciption of William Nicholson Jennings' photographic career along with a browsable subject index of his photographic collection from The Library Company of Philadelphia can be found within this website. However this site does not provide a comprehensive database of all the images housed within the Library Company. Please contact the Library Company for further information regarding the collection.
An Introduction to William Nicholson Jennings and the Photograph Collection:
The Library Company of Philadelphia's Jennings' Photograph Collection was acquired in 1978 and is comprised of more than 1400 eight-by-ten inch negatives that illustrate the Philadelphia region in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries. Although within the collection are some of his early balloon photographs, the largest number of negatives represent Jennings' later work for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Aside from his interest in railroad stations, construction sites and streetviews, Jennings also photographed new building forms, especially the new steel and masonry towers hovering over the old rows in downtown Philadelphia. As a whole, Jennings' Collection records Philadelphia's architectural, technological and social progress in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His photographs provide a modern image of Philadelphia that counter the city's reputation as a "quaint maze of ancient brick and cobblestones." (Conheim, 1978)
Peter Bacon Hales in Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization, 1839-1915 discusses the evolution of photographic style and the shift in subject matter in nineteenth and early twentieth century photography of American cities. He traces a clear shift from photographs that glorify the form of the city in "Grand Style Urban Photography" to photographs that break down this urban glorification in "The Hidden Hand" by emphasizing the growing problems confronting American cities around the turn of the century.
Browse the Collection:
Each of the links below are formatted as follows:
Type of Photography:
Monuments and Statues
Pennsylvania Railroad Company
url=jenningshome.htm; last rev. = 14 March 04 lw. comments: Linda Wisniewski BMC '04