Skip to Main Content

Special Collections & Archives: Early Photographic Formats and Processes

This guide has been adapted with permission for UTRGV SCA from OSU's "Early Photographic Formats and Processes in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center," by Rachel Lilley.

How to Use this Guide

This guide is not intended as a comprehensive review of all of UTRGV's Special Collections & Archives photographic collections, content, and formats, but rather it will serve as an initial access point for research into early photographic formats and processes. We hope it will be useful to our users, especially students, patrons, and researchers, who are interested in the history and evolution of photography.

Each tab, or page, represents an image type found within our photographic collections and includes a brief history of the image type ("Historical Context") and a list of our collections containing representative image types (and the boxes in which those images are found). Links to digitized collections of that particular image type are also provided whenever available. Please note that not all images referenced for each type have been digitized; many of the images referenced in this guide must be viewed in person in the UTRGV Special Collections and Archives Reading Rooms (Brownsville or Edinburg).

Image types included in the guide are roughly grouped chronologically. Dates listed for each image type are the years during which that particular format / process was widely available, and in common use.


UTRGV Special Collections & Archives wish to gratefully acknowledge Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) and especially, Rachel Lilley, the original author of "Early Photographic Formats and Processes in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center" from which this guide has been adapted. Rachel's original guide not only inspired us to create this resource, but to also reconsider how we approach our photographic collections more generally.

Rachel notes that Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Diane Vogt-O'Connor's book Photographs : Archival Care and Management was an invaluable resource in writing her original guide as well as History of Photography, by Beaumont Newhall.