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  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred Citation

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California Museum of Photography
    Title: Keystone-Mast Collection
    creator: Keystone View Company
    creator: Underwood & Underwood
    creator: B.W. Kilburn Company
    creator: H.C. White Co.
    creator: Universal Photo Art Co.
    creator: American Stereoscopic Company
    creator: Rau, William Herman, 1855-1920
    creator: Berry, Kelley & Chadwick
    creator: Rose, George, 1861-1942
    Identifier/Call Number: 1996.0009
    Physical Description: 350,000 items
    Date (inclusive): 1870-1963
    Abstract: The Keystone-Mast Collection comprises over 350,000 stereoscopic photographs and negatives that depict the world between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Firms represented in Keystone-Mast include Keystone View Company, Underwood and Underwood, B.W. Kilburn, H.C. White Company, Universal Photo Art Company (C.H. Graves), American Stereoscopic Company, W.H. Rau, Berry, Kelley and Chadwick, and George Rose. The photographs are not stereo cards, but contact prints from the original negatives, annotated by Keystone staff and photographers.

    Scope and Contents

    The Keystone-Mast Collection is a virtually encyclopedic visual document of the world between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, as photographed stereoscopically (three-dimensionally). It is comprised of the extant prints and negatives created by Keystone View Company, and the stereoscopic firms whose negatives and prints they acquired during their tenure, which includes Underwood and Underwood, B.W. Kilburn, H.C. White Company, Universal Photo Art Company (C.H. Graves), American Stereoscopic Company, W.H. Rau, Berry, Kelley and Chadwick, and George Rose. Because many of these firms had in turn acquired other studios and companies, many more photographers and companies' work may survive in Keystone-Mast.
    The photographs in this collection are not published and mass-distributed stereo cards, but rather are contact prints from the original negatives with handwritten annotations from Keystone staff and photographers. The images include both those that were mass-produced as stereo cards and many more that were never published. A numbering code on the back of each photograph gives some indication as to source (publisher), as well as whether the card was published by Keystone View Company. It is often not possible to ascertain publication status on images from publishers other than Keystone View Company.
    There are approximately 100,000 photographic prints and 250,000 glass and film negatives in this collection. Negatives are sometimes duplicated, but there are negatives for which no print survives, and vice versa. In their day, one of Keystone View Company’s marketing slogans was "the best of a million negatives," but because the company tended to destroy obsolete views, far fewer survive to present day. Approximately 45,000 prints and negatives have been individually cataloged and digitized. The collection is organized in the manner it was kept by Keystone View Company. The majority of the photograph collection is organized geographically, with the remainder organized by pedagogical topic. There is some overlap and duplication of images between the two. The negatives are organized numerically, sorted by publisher/company. Additionally, the company kept ledgers where they logged each negative. The ledgers are organized numerically, sorted by publisher/company. The ledgers list the identification numbers and titles for the negatives. Occasionally it also lists dates and photographer/source information, however this information is often scarce.
    The Keystone-Mast Collection does not include any additional business records of the Keystone View Company or any other stereoscopic firm included in the collection. The museum has collected a few print catalogs and other ephemera related to the collection. Although not part of Keystone-Mast, this material is also open to research.


    Whenever possible, original order of this collection was maintained.

    Preferred Citation

    Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Keystone View Company
    Underwood & Underwood
    B.W. Kilburn Company
    H.C. White Co.
    Universal Photo Art Co.
    American Stereoscopic Company
    Rau, William Herman, 1855-1920
    Berry, Kelley & Chadwick
    Rose, George, 1861-1942