Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Baird (Joseph Armstrong) collection
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (0.50 Mb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Joseph Armstrong Baird Collection of 19th-century architectural photographs
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1860-1931, undated
    Number: 88.R.8
    Creator/Collector: Baird, Joseph Armstrong
    Physical Description: 64 box(es) (approximately 1,663 items)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Assembled over a forty-year period by photography curator Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. the collection contains approximately 1663 photographs of architecture and urban views primarily in Europe, but also including 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.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1922. He received his BA from Oberlin College in 1945 and an MA and a PhD from Harvard University in 1947 and 1951. His area of expertise was Californian and Mexican art and architecture.
    Baird taught at the University of Toronto from 1949 to 1953. He then taught at the University of California at Davis from 1953 to 1985. Baird also served as a visiting professor at the University of Mexico, the University of Southern California, and the University of Oregon.
    Baird worked extensively in museum settings. During the 1960's and early 1970's, Baird worked as art curator and later as art consultant for the California Historical Society in San Francisco.
    In 1972, Baird opened 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 1992.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Joseph Armstrong Baird collection of 19th-century architectural photographs, ca. 1860-1931, undated, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 88.R.8.

    Acquisition Information

    Received in several acquisitions: 1988, 1992, 1993.

    Processing History

    Processed by Hillary Brown in 1995, with later additions processed and added to the finding aid by Beth Ann Guynn in 1996. Guynn updated the finding aid in 2021.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Assembled over a forty-year period by Joseph Armstrong Baird, Jr., the collection contains approximately 1,663 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 numerous countries, although the majority of the photographs depict buildings and cities in Europe, especially in the countries of Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain. Other European countries represented include: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Also present are views of Africa: Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa; Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, 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. Panoramas of cities and towns are also present. International expositions and the Paris Commune are among other subjects documented in the collection.
    The photographs, most of which are albumen prints, were primarily taken by professional photographic studios and include such makers as Fratelli Alinari; Fratelli Amodio; F. and O. Brockmann; Fraincis Frith; the London Stereoscopic Company; Neurdein frères; Photoglob Co.; Sébah and Joallier; Giorgio Sommer; James Valentine; and George Washington Wilson. Many of the photographs are annotated, some by Baird.
    The collection is arranged in five series, by photographic format: Series I. Photographs of Europe, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series II Oversize photographs, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series III Disbound album leaves, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series IV Photograph albums, ca. 1870-ca. 1931, undated; and Series V Travel booklets, 1877-1911, undated.

    Arrangement note

    Arranged in 5 series: Series I. Photographs of Europe, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series II Oversize photographs, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series III Disbound album leaves, ca. 1860-ca. 1920; Series IV Photograph albums, ca. 1870-ca. 1931, undated; Series V Travel booklets, 1877-1911, undated.
    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 56.
    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.
    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 than albumen.
    Size: Size units are centimeters, height x width.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Wilson, G. W. (George Washington), 1823-1893
    Quinet, Achille, 1831-1900
    Sébah, Pascal, 1823-1886
    Beato, Felice, 1832-1909
    Anderson, James, 1813-1877
    Valentine, James, 1815-1879
    Frith, Francis
    Lai, Fong, approximately 1839-1890
    Kusakabe, Kinbē, 1841-1932
    Sommer, Giorgio, 1834-1914
    Rive, Robert
    Brogi, Giacomo, 1822-1881
    Iranian, M.
    Berggren, G. (Guillaume), 1835-1920
    Garzón, Rafael, 1863-1923
    Molina, T.
    Robertson, James, 1813-1888
    Naya, Carlo
    Bourne, Samuel, 1834-1912
    Arnoux, Hippolyte
    Leroux, A. (Alexandre), 1836-1912
    Béchard, Émile, 1844-
    Bedford, Francis, 1816-1894
    Noack, Alfredo, 1833-1896
    Kuhn, J.

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Sebah & Joaillier
    London Stereoscopic Company
    F. & O. Brockmann (Firm)
    Fratelli Alinari
    Lehnert & Landrock
    Neurdein frères
    Gülmez Frères (Firm)
    J. Laurent y Cia (Madrid, Spain)
    Photoglob Co.

    Subjects - Topics

    Architecture, Ancient -- Greece
    Architecture, Ancient -- Italy
    Architecture, Medieval -- Italy
    Architecture, Renaissance -- Italy
    Architecture -- France -- 19th century
    Architecture -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Architecture, Ancient -- Syria
    Architecture, Baroque -- Italy
    Architecture, Ancient -- Jordan
    Architecture, Ancient -- Lebanon

    Subjects - Places

    Italy -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Europe -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    China -- Buildings, structures, etc.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographs, Original
    Photograph albums
    Albumen prints
    Photomechanical prints
    Collotypes -- 19th century


    Baird, Joseph Armstrong