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Image Collections for CCNY Users: Collections

This guide points to images and image collections, some available to CCNY users only, that may be useful for your research.

Broadest/Most Used

  • AP Images - photos from the Associated Press, historic, contemporary, etc.
  • - largest free image collection for scholars & public use  EXPLANATION
  • ARTstor - not just art, but historic photos, buildings, popular culture; over 100,000 images
  • Insight Visual Collections - High-quality image collections (not all available to the public)
  • CCNY Art Collection - Image collection of artwork owned by the college
  • CCNY Digital Collections - CCNY's Archives & Special Collections scans of historic documents and photos, manuscripts, and subject collections
  • Reanimation Library - copyright-free images and visual content from picture-intensive books. 
  • British Library Images - Images with no known copyright restriction digitized by Microsoft from books published in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and gifted back to the British Library for public domain use.
  • Wikipedia Public Domain Image Resources - a constantly evolving list of image sources of varying quality, organized by topic

Embedded Collections (image searching in journal databases)

  • EBSCOHost Databases - Select some or all of the databases, type in at least one keyword, and choose the "Image Quick View" option. Options are available to limit the quick view to black and white photos, charts, maps and more. 
  • JSTOR - type term in keyword search, then choose to limit the search to "Only results with images"
  • New York Times Historical Edition - As the articles in this database are saved in PDF format, diagrams and illustrations are included, if the Times owns/licensed the image. If a freelance photographer owns the image, it may not be included with the article. And, the images are no better than the quality they had in the published newspaper.
  • SpringerImagesSpringerImages is a growing collection of STM images covering all scientific disciplines and clinical images found in Springer’s journals.  Additionally biology images from “Biology Image Library” from BioMedCentral’s journals are also included.  Each image has the source information of the article from which the image originates and a link to the full-text. Copyright information is also provided.

Commercial Collections (charge for use, but browsing is free)

  • Corbis - Bill Gates' image fee-based image service; selected categories can be royalty-free
  • Foto Search Stock Photography - a database of 11 million images from 140 vendors including Corbis, most priced at $9 each; viewing is free and there are some royalty-free photographs, illustrations, stock video clips and maps.
  • Getty Images - a stock images service (generally for commerical purposes, not associated with the Getty Museum)


Collections of Image Sites from Trustworthy Sources

American Library Association Digital Images Collections Guide - ALA's collection of stable, legal and reliable image sites

The Mother of All Art and Art History Pages - A private art portal run under the University of Michigan's auspices.  Updated and large, including material culture and not simply art.



ARTstor - not just art, but photos, and other graphic representations

Art Museum Image Gallery - Art images and related multimedia gathered from the collections of distinguished museums around the world. The images are rights-cleared for educational use. - largest free image collection for scholars & public

Google Art Project - Google's virtual tour of major art museums and intense close-ups of major works of art

Bridgeman Archive - automatically search in Oxford Art Online as well - auction records sub-set has images

JSTOR - Limit to ART & ART HISTORY JOURNALS, type term in keyword search, then choose to limit the search to "Only results with images"

Insight Visual Collections - Art museum and study collections using the Insight visual browser client

Archives of American Art Image search - AAA photos, digitized manuscripts, etc from this Smithsonian collection

Art in the Christian Tradition - Vanderbilt University's collection of historic and contemporary religious art and symbolism. 


 RMN (French Art Museum) - massive official digital image collection from French art museums, Réunion des Musées Nationaux

Marburger Index - [this is art from any country held in Germany and Austria] - interface only in German

Art Museum websites generally have a selection of high-quality images from their individual collections. Look them up directly through museum name. Comprehensive collections online include:

Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) 

See also:

Art Full Text  - online periodical database which indexes images in art journals separately from the articles.  Since art magazines are heavily illustrated with unique images, this is a major source for pictures of art.

Chris Whitcomb's Art History link - an immense art history portal with lots of links to image sites for art.

Resource Guide to Art History -  An explanatory guide that contains links to university image collections by genre.

Getty Publications Virtual Library - Free digital backlist titles from the Getty Publications Archives, including all images published in the book.


Classical Studies

ARTstor - strong on classical images - Yahoo's free picture-sharing website.  Scholars & public's images include many archaeological sites, museum objects Art and Architecture Image Collection - Commercial image collections (Archivision and Saskia)

Index of Christian Art - Princeton's photo initative, includes late classical religious (not just Christian) art

Perseus Digital Library - fundamentally a classical-subject digital collection, other periods have been added
Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum online (partial), print collection: Cohen Library, NK4640.C6  - a corpus catalog of all known ancient pottery (in museums and private collections).  Ongoing.  Begun (and most complete) as a printed-book collection.  Volumes out of print are scanned and available online.

American Academy in Rome visual resources collection


ARTstor - click photography collections, then search - largest free image collection for scholars & public 

George Eastman House- largest photography collection in the United States

CCNY Art Collection - Image collection of artwork owned by the college, including the Levy Contemporary Photography collection

Life Magazine Photo Archive - the archive of the magazines of Time/Life (not necessarily the photos that appeared in the magazine).  Strong subject search [a near-complete run of Life magazine is at Lilly Library]

Marburger Index - art held in German collections, good for classical sculpture [click the British flag for English]

NYC Department of Records - Photo Gallery 30,000 images from the New York City Department of Records and Information Services, including unusual images depicting political groups monitored by  the New York City Police Department's "Alien Squad."

NYC Municipal Archives Online Gallery - More than 870,000 images recently made public.

Science image site - Images from half a dozen giant government repositories: NBII (National Biological Information Infrastructure), NOAA, NASA, USGS, USDA.  All copyright free. 

TASI - Comprehensive image portal for scientific images

Biology Image Library - Images from BioMed Central's journals and biomedical research 

CINAHL Plus - Nursing and Allied Health literature - click the 'visual search' tab under the search boxes to find images 

Historical images in medicine - Duke Medical Center Library's Images LibGuide

Images from the History of Medicine - National Library of Medicine Images

SpringerImages - STM images covering all scientific disciplines and clinical images found in Springer’s journals. Additionally biology images from “Biology Image Library” from BioMedCentral’s journals are also included.  Each image has the source information of the article from which the image originates and a link to the full-text. Copyright information is also provided.

Wellcome Images - The Wellcome Library is collaborating with nine institutions to put 15 million pages of 19th-century medical books online, including all their images. This resource for medical history is also of interest to the arts, humanities, and contemporary medicine.


Internet Archive - The "texts" section contains many images included in early printed books.

CMRS - The Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts is designed to enable users to find fully digitized manuscripts currently available on the web.

Manuscriptorium: European Digital Library of Written Cultural Heritage - digital historic books (manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books, maps, charters and other types of documents). 5 million digital images.

Les Enlumiures - France 1500  - 2 medieval manuscripts that are full-page 3D interactive

Picturing U.S. History - Online Resource for teaching with visual evidence, maintained by the American Social History Project at the CUNY Graduate Center.

First Blacks in the Americas - Collection of 2900 architectural images from Hispaniola, the first European colony established by the Spaniards in the New World, and the first in the Americas with a majority of people of African descent. These images capture the places where these people, both free and enslaved, spent their lives. 

Institute for British and Irish Studies - visual resources from the University of Southern California

Soviet-era posters - a collection on flickr

Associate Dean & Chief Librarian (Emeritus)

Chip Stewart's picture
Chip Stewart
Chip Stewart
Associate Dean & Chief Librarian
City College Libraries/CUNY
160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031


Special thanks to Lee Sorensen of Duke University for permitting the use of his Image Collections for Duke Users guide as a template for this guide.