Guide to the Keystone View Company World War Through the Stereoscope Collection MSS.2011.02.15

Lisa Zakharova
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
© 2010
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: Keystone View Company World War Through the Stereoscope Collection
creator: Keystone View Company
source: San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2011.02.15
Physical Description: 5.0 boxes (1 linear foot)
Date (inclusive): 1923, 1928
Abstract: The Keystone View CompanyWorld War Through the Stereoscope Collection consists of 300 stereograph cards featuring scenes from WWI, a stereoscope for viewing the cards, and a 1928 copy of the book "The World War Through the Telebinocular."


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright is not assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes. The collection resides in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Keystone View Company World War Through the Stereoscope Collection, MSS-2011-02-15, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lisa Zakharova. Finding aid EAD encoded by Lisa Zakharova. Reviewed by Danelle Moon.

Stereograph History

Stereographs became a very popular entertainment medium from the 1850s to the 1930s, though a few companies continued to produce stereographic images until the 1970s. Many different photographic processes were used to produce stereographs, including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, wet plate glass positives, salt paper prints, albumen prints, and gelatin prints. Stereographs were formed of two images placed side by side and mounted on cardboard. They were commonly produced with cameras that had two lenses side by side. Stereographic cards were produced in the millions by photographers all over the world. Invented in England, the novelty and attraction of stereograph formats spread across Europe and the United States.
Stereographs provided a very popular entertainment medium predating television and film. Keystone and Underwood produced stereographic sets packaged in box sets with spines that resembled classic book bindings, accompanied by descriptive guide books written by recognized scholars, copyrighted maps depicting the exact location of the photograph, and the arrangement of sets by subject intended for primary and secondary school instruction. Stereographic views cover a diverse range of subjects and include topographic views, local history, events, industries and trade, urban and country life, portraits of famous people, and the production of box sets of World War I and World War II. The box sets ranged in size from 50 to 200 images per box, and were viewed through a stereoscope, which produced a unique three-dimensional (3-D) effect.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Keystone View Company World War Through the Steresoscope Collection consists of stereograph cards that feature graphic battle scenes, trench warfare, war strategy, military aircraft, weaponry, and key WWI leaders such as Raymond Poincare, President of the French Republic, Joseph Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, and Sir Douglas Haig, Commander of the British Armies in France. Many of the scenes featured in the collection were taken in France. The Keystone View Company was the only company permitted to photograph the World War I battlefields and military operations.
The collection also includes a stereoscope for viewing the stereographs and a 1928 copy of the book "The World War Through the Telebinocular: A visualized, vitalized history of the greatest conflict of all the ages," which was edited by Major Joseph Mills Hanson and published by Keystone View Company. Included in the book is a history of the events of the war and a list of all 300 stereographs found in the collection.


This collection is primarily arranged by stereograph number.

Related Materials

Keystone View Company Stereocard Collection, MSS-2010-08-25

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War, 1914-1918 -- Photographs
Stereoscopic views
Photographic prints
Keystone View Company
San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives

Box 1

Cards 1 - 100

Box 2

Cards 101 - 200

Box 3

Cards 201 - 300

Box 4


Box 5

The World War Through the Telebinocular 1928