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Guide to the Keystone-Mast Collection, 1870-1963
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Collection Overview
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UCR-California Museum of Photography faces the challenge of providing ready, useful and intellectual access to a valuable body of cultural and educational resources of interest to the general public and scholars alike. Consisting of 250,000 stereoscopic glass-plate and film negatives and 100,000 vintage prints, UCR-California Museum of Photography's Keystone-Mast Collection is the archive of the Keystone View Company of Meadville, PA (active from 1892-1963). As a collection, it is the world's largest body of original stereoscopic negatives and prints providing an encyclopedic view of global cultural history. Formed over the period of the United States' emergence as a world power, Keystone-Mast not only chronicles an age, it also represents in pictures a dominant point of view about the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is an important tool for among others, anthropologists, art historians, cultural studies scholars, historians, political scientists and sociologists.

The Keystone-Mast Collection Guide 2003 provides online access to approximately twenty percent (approximately 28,872) of the total stereographic collection. To date, it represents content from the following geopolitical subject areas: entries from North America, from Central America, from West Indies (Caribbean Islands), from South America, from Oceania, from Asia, from Africa, and from the Middle East. When finished, the collection guide will consist of well over 100,000 online stereoviews complete with metadata.

UCR/CMP's 2007-2008 Keystone-Mast digitization initiative, which was completed through a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access grant, has contributed an additional 13,155 stereoscopic views of the Middle East and southern Asia, including views of Algeria, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The Keystone View Company was founded by amateur photographer, B. L. Singley of Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1892. Taking advantage of the public's curiosity in viewing disasters, Singley launched the company into the stereo market with sets of thirty stereo cards that recorded the flooding of the nearby French Creek. The growth of stereo photography, depicting national and international subjects, paralleled the emergence of modern America on the world's stage. Other factors which bolstered stereography's popularity was the novelty of experiencing explicit three-dimensional detail in a stereo card and the potential for card owners to frequently revisit views of world events in privateor during social gatherings. Stereographs were to nineteenth century generations, what television and the Internet are to contemporary culture, and enabled armchair observers to have vicarious experiences in faraway places.
The physical collection consists of 250,000 stereoscopic glass-plate and film negatives and 100,000 vintage prints 42,027 digital items available online
Copyright has been assigned to UC Regents and is administered by UCR-California Museum of Photography. All requests for permission to publish reproductions from photographs or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Collections.
Original prints and negatives are restricted and may not be viewed unless permission is granted by the museum's Curator of Collections. Images should be requested by their print identification numbers.