Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, 1895-1930

Additional and/or related photographs by Underwood & Underwood and other publishers are available in many public and private collections in the form of mounted paper stereographs, which are the end product marketed by these companies. Several thousand paper stereographs by Underwood & Underwood are located elsewhere in this Museum. Contact the Division of Photographic History, telephone 357-2059. Collection available by appointment.
California Museum of Photography, University of California--Riverside, Riverside, California 92521. Keystone-Mast Collection. Underwood & Underwood stereographs in this collection and the Smithsonian Underwood & Underwood Collection originally were components of the same company file.
Underwood & Underwood was established at Ottawa, Kansas by brothers Elmer and Bert Underwood, 1882. Originally they were distributors in the West for eastern photographers' stereographs, but they began publishing stereographs in 1890. They established an educational unit in 1895 and became a leader in armchair travel photography. Although the firm was highly successful in marketing sets of stereographs for a number of years, they eventually decided to concentrate on non-stereoscopic photographs and sold their glass stereo collection to a competitor, the Keystone View Co., in 1912 and 1921. The photographs in this collection represent the material which Keystone did not purchase.
Item-level catalog with thumbnail image files available on the World Wide Web. Search by subject terms, etc., to locate individual records.
An archival register will be available from the repository.Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560, with container-level control. Original Underwood & Underwood and H. C. White catalogs in this collection and in other repositories are available for consultation and keying with photographs in this collection by catalog number.
A videodisc is also available for use in the Archives Center for item-level image access.
Unofficially in custody of Archives Center as of January 1983, but officially transferred from the Division of Photographic History, Aug. 1986. This collection apparently was separated from the Underwood & Underwood material acquired by the Keystone View Co. in 1912 and 1921, but its precise location or usage from that period until Mr. and Mrs. Stratton acquired it is uncertain.
Seven series: (1) H. C. White glass plates; (2) American Stereoscpopic Co. glass plates; (3) Underwood & Underwood glass plates; (4) broken glass plates; (5) original company catalogs; (6) paper stereographs; and (7) stereoscopes (viewers). Series 1, 2, and 3 are each divided into negative and positive subseries. Plates are arranged numerically in groups based on geographical and subject content. Controlled at the series level in the finding aid and at the item level in a computer database
The major part of the collection, series 1-4, contains nearly 28,000 glass plates, including original stereoscopic negatives, interpositives, and both negative and positive non-stereoscopic plates used to produce lantern slides and paper prints. The photographs were taken all over the world. The majority are from the Underwood & Underwood active files, but plates from other publishers are also included. Series 5 is a small collection of paper stereographs. Series 6 contains 4 Underwood & Underwood descriptive sales catalogs and 1 H. C. White & Co. catalog (numbers on the Underwood plates correspond to the numbers on catalog captions). Series 7 is apparatus--four stereoscopes.
Photographers represented include Herbert G. Ponting and Clarence W. White. A photographer and/or publisher named J. J. Killela is also represented.
Cite as
Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Repository Loc.
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History : Archives Center. P.O. Box 37012, Suite 1100, MRC 601, Constitution Ave., between 12th and 14th Sts., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20013-7012. Call 202-633-3270 for appointment
Underwood & Underwood
Ponting, Herbert George 1870-1935
Underwood, Bert 1862-1943
Underwood, Elmer 1859-1947
White, Clarence W
Killela, J.J
Photographic History, Division of (NMAH, SI)
H.C. White Co
American Stereoscopic Co
Physical description
Photographs: silver gelatin glass plates, 5" x 8" or smaller, stereograph negatives made with stereoscopic cameras, plus duplicates, interpositives, and negatives, stereoscopic and non-stereoscopic, apparently all derived from stereographic negatives
160 cu. ft.: ca. 28,000 glass plates
240 drawers, 22" L. x 9" W. x 6" H
Local number
270586 (NMAH Acc.)
Traveling sales personnel
Travel photography
See more items in
Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection 1895-1921
Data Source
Archives Center, National Museum of American History