Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Joseph Armstrong Baird Collection of 19th-century architectural
Date (inclusive): ca. 1860-1931, undated
(approximately 1,663 items)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
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.
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Language: Collection material is in
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
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.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Joseph Armstrong Baird collection of 19th-century architectural photographs, ca. 1860-1931,
undated, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 88.R.8.
Received in several acquisitions: 1988, 1992, 1993.
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
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.
Arranged in 5 series:
Series I. Photographs of Europe, ca.
Series II Oversize photographs, ca.
Series III Disbound album leaves, ca.
Series IV Photograph albums, ca.
1870-ca. 1931, undated;
Series V Travel booklets,
Series I and II descriptions include some or all of the following information for
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
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.
Subjects - Names
Wilson, G. W. (George
Sébah, Pascal, 1823-1886
Beato, Felice, 1832-1909
Lai, Fong, approximately
Sommer, Giorgio, 1834-1914
Berggren, G. (Guillaume),
Garzón, Rafael, 1863-1923
Leroux, A. (Alexandre),
Béchard, Émile, 1844-
Noack, Alfredo, 1833-1896
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
Sebah & Joaillier
London Stereoscopic Company
F. & O. Brockmann (Firm)
Lehnert & Landrock
Gülmez Frères (Firm)
J. Laurent y Cia (Madrid,
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
Collotypes -- 19th century