Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Joseph Baird Collection of 19th-century Architectural Photographs
Date (inclusive): circa 1870-1920
Baird, Joseph Armstrong
(circa 1663 items)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
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 twentieth-century prints.
Language: Collection material is in
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
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
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 1776-1915, 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
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Joseph Baird collection of 19th-century architectural photographs, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession
Received in several acquisitions, 1988, 1992, 1993.
Processed by Hillary Brown, with later additions processed and added to the finding aid by Beth Guynn.
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
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.
Arranged in 5 series:
Series I. Loose Photographs, regular size;
Series II Loose Photographs, large size;
Series III Loose album leaves;
Series IV Photo albums;
Series V Travel Booklets.
Series I and II descriptions include some or all of the following information for photographs:
Cutter 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
Physical Description: 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.
Caption: 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 several lines.
Negative Number: 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.
Process: Most of the photographs in series I and II are albumen prints. This line appears only to indicate a process other
Size: Size units are centimeters, height x width.
Subjects - Topics
Architecture--Great Britain--19th century
Subjects - Places
China--Buildings, structures, etc.
Europe--Buildings, structures, etc.
Italy--Buildings, structures, etc.
Genres and Forms of Material
Baird, Joseph Armstrong
F. & O. Brockmann (Firm)
London Stereoscopic Company
Quinet, Achille, 1831-1900
Sebah & Joaillier
Wilson, G. W. (George Washington), 1823-1893