Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Joseph Baird collection of
19th-century architectural photographs
Dates: circa 1870-1920
Collection number: 88.R.8
64 boxes (circa
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
Abstract: Assembled over a forty-year period by
photography curator Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. (1922-1992) this collection
contains circa 1663 photographs of architecture and urban views in Europe,
Asia, the Middle East, and Mexico and Hawaii in North America. Most of the
photographs date from the late nineteenth-century, although a few are early
material is in English
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Joseph Baird collection of 19th-century architectural photographs,
Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 88.R.8.
Received in several acquisitions, 1988, 1992, 1993.
Processed by Hillary Brown, with later additions processed and added
to the finding aid by Beth Guynn.
Series I and II descriptions include some or all of the following
information for photographs:
- Cutter Number
- Physical Description
- Content description, if not obvious from title, caption
- Negative Number
The material is organized by Cutter Number and is first divided by
continent (Africa, Asia, Europe), and then by country (Algeria, Egypt, South
Africa), according to modern English place names. Within a country items are
organized alphabetically by city/site. The last part of the Cutter number is
the item number within the country. These numbers refer to items or sheets and
not always individual photographs; some items contain several photographs.
Example: E85. G3.56 = Europe, Germany, item 56.
This line is included after the Cutter number when the item contains
more than one photograph or image.
Example: Loose album leaf with 3 photographs.
Captions enclosed in quotation marks are handwritten captions.
Otherwise, captions are printed on front or back of photographs. An ellipsis
[…] after a caption indicates a lengthy description of the site. Information
enclosed in brackets is from the cataloguer. If the caption does not clearly
indicate the country, site, and subject, this information is indicated in
brackets. A brief description may also be included. Caption may be one or
A number enclosed in quotation marks indicates a handwritten negative
or collection number. Negative numbers, where they exist, are printed on the
front or back of photograph; in some instances a negative or collection number
is handwritten on the photograph.
Most of the photographs in series I and II are albumen prints. This
line appears only to indicate a process other than albumen.
Size units are centimeters, height x width.
Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in
1922. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1945 and an M.A. and a Ph.D
from Harvard University in 1947 and 1951. His area of expertise was in
Californian and Mexican art and architecture.
Baird taught at the University of Toronto from 1949-1953. He then
taught at the University of California at Davis from 1953-1985. Baird also
served as a visiting professor at the University of Mexico, the University of
Southern California, and at the University of Oregon.
Baird worked extensively in museum settings. During the 1960's and
early 70's, Baird worked as art curator and later as art consultant for the
California Historical Society in San Francisco.
From 1972-1985, Baird was founder and owner of the North Point Gallery
in San Francisco which specialized in works by American artists and rare
photographs. Some of his published works include
The Churches of Mexico 1530-1810, 1962,
Time's Wondrous Changes: San Francisco Architecture
, 1962, and
The West Remembered: Artists and Images 1837-1973, 1973,
as well as numerous articles, reviews, and exhibition catalogues.
In 1985, Baird retired from teaching and sold the North Point Gallery.
He died at the age of 70 in Tiburon, California in 1992.
Scope and Content of Collection
Assembled over a forty-year period by Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr.
(1922-1992), this collection contains ca. 1663 photographs of architecture and
urban views. Most of the photographs date from the late nineteenth-century,
although a few are early twentieth-century prints.
The collection spans several continents and dozens of countries. The
majority of the photographs depict buildings and cities in Europe, especially
the countries Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain. Other countries
featured include Africa: Algeria, Egypt and South Africa; Asia: China, Hong
Kong, Japan, and India; Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark,
Greece, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey; Middle East: Jordan; Lebanon; and Syria; and
North America: Mexico and Hawaii.
Subject matter includes exterior and interior views of religious
buildings, palaces, government buildings, and theaters, as well as panoramas of
towns and cities and views of streets and plazas. Urban views include images of
streets and plazas and panoramas of cities and towns. International expositions
and the Paris Commune are among other subjects documented in the
The photographs, most of which are albumens, were taken by
professional photographic studios and include such names as Alinari, Amodio, F.
and O. Brockmann, the London Stereoscopic Company, Quinet, Sébah and Joallier,
and George Washington Wilson. Many of the prints include a negative number.
Many of the photographs are annotated, some by Baird.
Subjects - Topics
Subjects - Places
Genres and Forms of Material
F. & O. Brockmann