Collection digitized? Yes. About 4,200 panoramic photographs
are available in the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog.
(The same images are presented on the
Library of Congress American
Memory site.) A few selected images are
included here to give a sample of the collection.
The Panoramic Photograph Collection contains approximately four
thousand images featuring American cityscapes, landscapes, and
group portraits. These panoramas offer an overview of the nation,
its enterprises and its interests, with a focus on the start
of the twentieth century when the panoramic format was at the
height of its popularity. Subject strengths include: agricultural
life; beauty contests; disasters; engineering works such as bridges,
canals and dams; fairs and expositions; military and naval activities,
especially during World War I; the oil industry; schools and
college campuses; sports; and transportation. The images date
from 1851 to 1991 and depict scenes in all fifty states and the
District of Columbia. More than twenty foreign countries and
a few U.S.territories are also represented. These panoramas average
between twenty-eight inches and six feet in length, with an average
width of ten inches.
The Library of Congress' large collection of panoramas was
formed mainly during the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, when many photographers submitted copies of their
works to the Library for copyright protection. Around 1900,
panoramic photography was practiced primarily by commercial
photographers. Postcards and magazines reproduced panoramas
as advertisements for real estate and the promotion of the
tourist industry. Panoramic photographs were also popular as
portrait souvenirs for people attending conventions, conferences,
and company events. Shortly after a group was photographed
or "panographed" (a term used by some panoramic photographers)
the panorama would be displayed and orders would be taken for
copies. Large group portraits almost certainly guaranteed many
A few commercial photography studios still specialize in
panoramic photography. Additionally, many photographers currently
panoramic format as a means of artistic expression.
The Panoramic Photograph collection includes images taken by
more than four hundred different photographers. The following
biographies profile four photographers whose work demonstrates
a few special aspects of the panoramic format.
George R. Lawrence (1869-1938)
After working briefly at a Chicago wagon factory in 1889,
George Lawrence opened a studio for the production of crayon
enlargements -- large photographs, usually portraits, that
have been enhanced by pastels or charcoal. Crayon enlargements
popular wall decorations in the late 1800s.
In 1893, Lawrence's studio partner left Chicago permanently.
Lawrence inherited the equipment and learned to develop negatives
from a local photographer's apprentice. He formed the Geo.
R. Lawrence Company and quickly became an innovator in the
field, using the slogan "The Hitherto Impossible in Photography
is Our Specialty."
Lawrence designed his own large-format cameras and specialized
in aerial views. He began by using ladders or high towers to
photograph from above. In 1901 he shot aerial photographs from
a flimsy cage attached to a captive balloon. Once, while flying
more than 200 feet above Chicago, the cage tore from the balloon,
hurling Lawrence and his camera to the ground. Fortunately
his fall was broken by telephone and telegraph wires; he landed
unharmed. Lawrence continued to use balloons until he developed
a method of taking aerial views with cameras suspended from
unmanned kites. He used this method to take photographs of
San Francisco after the devastating 1906 earthquake. These
photographs appeared in newspapers around the world and generated
more than $15,000 for the photographer.
Lawrence was also renowned for developing a flash powder
that permitted indoor banquet photography. His system required
flash powder in many locations around a room, sometimes in
as many as 350 spots. A single electric charge exploded all
the powder, generating more light and less smoke than previous
In the 1910s, Lawrence left the field of photography and
pursued a career in aviation design. The Geo. R. Lawrence Company
succeeded by Kaufmann & Fabry, whose work can also be found in this collection.
George N. Barnard (1819-1902)
Little is known about George Barnard's early photographic
career. He operated a daguerreotype studio in Oswego, New York,
between 1846 and 1853. (Daguerreotypes were the first commercially
available photographic process.) In December of 1853, Barnard
moved his studio to Syracuse, New York. Despite his great technical
expertise, Barnard was forced to close his Syracuse studio
1857 due to the poor economy.
In 1859, Barnard joined Edward Anthony's photographic firm
in New York City as a stereoscopic photographer. Stereographs,
the first mass-produced photographs, were a popular form of
entertainment for the upper and middle classes. Because stereographs
were published and distributed for sale, the publisher, not
the photographer, often received credit for the views. We do
know that Barnard made stereographs in Cuba, and they were
Barnard went on to work for
the well-known studio of Mathew
Brady, both in New York and
Washington, D.C. His duties
included studio portraiture
as well as non-studio group
of the troops assembled in Washington
at the start of the Civil War.
His views of Civil War battlegrounds,
months after the battles, were
widely distributed. Many of his
images are included in the Civil
War Photographs collection in
the Prints & Photographs Division
and can be seen online in the
Prints & Photographs Online
Barnard is best known for his 1866 book, Photographic
Views of Sherman's Campaign, which contains 61 albumen
prints of Civil War sites such as Nashville, the Chattanooga
Valley, Atlanta, and Savannah, as well as other sites associated
with General Sherman's command, and one studio portrait of
Sherman and his generals.
Barnard continued to photograph after the war, operating
studios in Charleston, South Carolina, and Chicago. His Chicago
studio was destroyed by the historic fire of 1871. Barnard
died on February 4,
1902, in Syracuse, New York.
Frederick W. Brehm (1871-1950)
Frederick Brehm is one of the people credited with developing
the Cirkut panoramic camera. Initially manufactured and marketed
by the Rochester Panoramic Camera Company, the camera was later
manufactured by the Folmer and Schwing Division of the Eastman
Kodak Company. In 1906 Frederick Brehm visited Washington,
D.C., and made a 360 degree view of the city that was twenty
feet long. During this visit to Washington, Brehm also made
two smaller panoramic photographs of the city, and later submitted
them to the Library of Congress for copyright protection.
Brehm worked at Eastman Kodak and also taught photography
at the Mechanics Institute (now the Rochester Institute of
Miles F. Weaver (1879-1932)
Born in western Pennsylvania in 1879, Miles Weaver prospected
for minerals and oil before he became interested in photography.
His prospecting career brought him to the Edna/Orcutt oil fields
near Santa Maria, California.
Weaver's photographic career began in 1910, shortly after
his marriage to Hazle Judkins. Hazle's father, David Roby Judkins,
operated a photographic studio in Santa Maria. After his death
in December 1909, the Weavers took over operation of the studio.
The Weavers moved their studio to Los Angeles in 1916.
Weaver's photographic career was typical of many studio photographers
in the early decades of the twentieth century. With the start
of World War I, Weaver realized the lucrative business potential
of photographing the military troops at various southwestern
Army bases and forts. He set up business in San Antonio, Texas,
using both a Cirkut panoramic camera and a 4 x 5 Graphlex,
while Hazle Weaver oversaw the operation of their Los Angeles
Miles Weaver ran one of the largest banquet and panoramic
photography studios in Los Angeles. His work included early
Academy Award celebrations, religious revivals, movie publicity
stills and bathing beauty pageants. Weaver sent several panoramas
of bathing beauty pageants to the Library of Congress for copyright
protection. Miles Weaver died on March 5, 1932. His wife and
two sons ran the business until the 1960s. Unfortunately, when
the company was dissolved, all of the negatives and business
records were destroyed.
Shortly after the invention of photography in 1839, the desire
to show overviews of cities and landscapes prompted photographers
to create panoramas. The earliest panoramas were made by placing
two or more daguerreotype plates side-by-side. Daguerreotypes,
the first commercially available photographic process, used
silver- coated copper plates to produce highly detailed images.
The Library's earliest vintage panoramas were taken by George
Barnard for the Union Army during the Civil War. Military engineers
and generals valued his panoramic overviews of terrain and
fortifications. Barnard's panoramas were printed from two or
more wet-plate glass negatives that were exposed in a conventional
camera. The "wet-plates" had to be coated with an emulsion,
sensitized, exposed, and developed in the field while the plates
were still wet. After each exposure, the camera was rotated
to the next section of the panorama to make a new negative.
Upon return to the studio, a print was made from each negative
by placing a sensitized sheet of photographic paper on the
emulsion side of the negative in a printing frame. The frame
was placed in the sun until the prints achieved the desired
density. The prints were then fixed, washed, trimmed, arranged,
and mounted to form a panoramic photograph.
In the late nineteenth century, cameras were manufactured
specifically for producing panoramas. These cameras were either
swing-lens cameras, where the lens rotated while the film remained
stationary, or 360-degree rotation cameras, where both the
and the film rotated.
The first mass-produced American panoramic camera, the Al-
Vista, was introduced in 1898. The following year Eastman Kodak
introduced the #4 Kodak Panoram panoramic camera that proved
popular with amateur
photographers. In 1911 Sears, Roebuck & Co. sold the Conley Panoramic Camera
through their catalog.
Mass-produced panoramic cameras worked on the swing-lens
principle, used roll film, and did not need a tripod. Mass-produced
panoramic cameras made small panoramas, measuring no more than
twelve inches long with a field of view of almost 180-degrees.
Developing the film was easy, and the resulting negatives could
be contact-printed or used for enlargements. The Czech photographer,
Josef Sudek (1896-1976), was a master of the Kodak Panorama
camera. He is renowned for his panoramas of Prague. Sudek made
contact prints, not enlargements, of his negatives in order
to show as much
detail and tonal range as possible.
The Cirkut camera was patented in 1904. It used large format
film, ranging in width from 5" to 16" and was capable of producing
a 360-degree photograph measuring up to 20 feet long. Both
the camera and the film rotated on a special tripod during
Cirkut cameras were used mostly by commercial photographers
to capture city views, group portraits, and special events.
In order to facilitate access
to panoramas in the Library,
most have been copied as digital
images for display with corresponding
catalog information. Images
and records are available via
World Wide Web in the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog
[go to the Panoramic
same images and
also presented on the Library
of Congress American Memory
site under "Panoramic Photographs").
Panoramas that measure more
than 28 inches in length were
included because they are
particularly difficult to
serve. (Due to
interest in George Lawrence's
work, all of the Library's
Lawrence photographs have
regardless of size.) Dimensions,
rounded off to the nearest
half-inch, are provided for
the image area
of the panoramas, exclusive
of borders or mounts.
The digital images can be
displayed as thumnails or
as jpeg images.
The entire image can be viewed
by scrolling across
the screen. The graphic device
or locator bar along the bottom
of the screen indicates the
position of the visible portion
of the image within the larger
Additional panoramic photographs
may be found in the Detroit
Publishing Company Collection,
which is available online in
the Prints and Photographs Online
Catalog, sometimes as full panoramas,
and sometimes as individual
glass plate negatives that,
together, form a panoramic photo
(The Detroit Publishing Company
is and is
Photographic prints or transparencies can be ordered directly
the Library of Congress, Duplication Services, Washington, D.C. 20540-5230. Order forms, price, and order instructions
will be provided on request. Orders for copies must be accompanied by the reproduction
number(s) for the desired image or by the call number of the panorama, when no
reproduction numbers exist. Because of the large format of many panoramas, it
is frequently necessary to copy them in segments. Researchers may need to consult
the Duplication Services staff regarding photographing procedures and costs
when ordering copies of original panoramas that do not have existing reproduction
Most images are considered to be in the public domain. Known
restrictions are noted in the catalog records. When images
are reproduced in a publication, the Library requests that
the reproduction number be published with the credit, as in
following example: "Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
This selected bibliography includes publications that provide
historical information about panoramic photography and publications
that provide biographical information for photographers represented
in the Library of Congress' collection. "P&P" after the call
number refers to books held in the Prints and Photographs Division
- California Museum of
Photography (University of California, Riverside) has
approximately 800 panoramic negatives from the Haines Photo
Co., primarily of views taken in California and on the
West Coast. The Museum also has the Cirkut camera used
by William Amos Haines.
of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (Austin,
Texas) has the Eugene Goldbeck Collection, consisting
of over 10,000 vintage panoramic prints, 60,000 Cirkut
panoramic negatives, and Goldbeck's inventories.
Archives and Records Administration, Still Picture unit
(College Park, Maryland) has approximately 4,000 panoramic
photographs. Many of these images are of Army units, camps,
and installations during World War I. Over 500 of these
images are currently available to the public.
Burleson, Clyde W. and E. Jessica Hickman. The Panoramic Photography
of Eugene O. Goldbeck. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986. Call
number: TR661.B87 1986 [P&P]
Monograph on Goldbeck, a prolific photographer who
worked with a Cirkut camera from the 1910s to 1980s. Beautifully illustrated
with many foldout plates.
Caddick, James and Susan Schwartzenberg. "A 360 [Degree] Daguerreotype Panorama
of the City by the Golden Gate." The Daguerreian Annual (1992):
104-108. Call number: TR365.D34 1992 [P&P]
Brief essay on a panorama of San Francisco. A copy
photograph of part of this panorama is in the collections of the Prints & Photographs
Division at the Library of Congress. It may be accessed on One-Box by typing
in the call number: PAN US GEOG -California, no. 235 (E size).
Coe, Brian. Cameras: From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures.
New York: Crown Publishers, 1978. Call number: TR250.C63 1978 [P&P]
One chapter of this book is devoted to panoramic cameras.
The inner workings of these cameras are well illustrated.
Davenport, Marguerite. The Unpretentious Pose: The Work of E. O. Goldbeck,
A People's Photographer. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1981.
Call number: TR140.G64D28
Davis, Keith F. George N. Barnard: Photographer of Sherman's Campaign.
Kansas City: Hallmark Cards, Inc., 1990. Call number: TR140.B275D38 1990 [P&P]
Monograph on Barnard, provides extensive biographical
information and many illustrations, including Barnard's panoramas of Tennessee
taken in 1864.
Fletcher, Stephen J. "A Longer View: Cirkut Photography in Indiana since
1906." Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Indiana Historical Society),
vol. 3 (Winter 1991):18-31. Call number: Not in LC
A brief history of panoramic photography, illustrated
with foldout plates by Charles F. Bretzman and others.
Hales, Peter B. Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization,
1839-1915. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984. Call number:
TR820.5.H33 1984 [P&P]
Hales discusses the development of city view panoramas,
from the daguerreotype process through the work of George Lawrence, illustrated
with a few foldout plates.
Hyde, Ralph. Panoramania! :The Art and Entertainment of the "All-Embracing" View. London:
Trefoil Publications, 1988. Call number: N8213.H9 1988
A history of the panoramic format, including panoramic
paintings and prints, moving panoramas, panoramic photography, and dioramas.
Johnson, Carol. "Panoramas of Duluth, Minnesota." History of Photography,
vol. 16 (Summer 1992):141-146. Call number: TR15.H57 [P&P]
Discusses two panoramas of Duluth, Minnesota from the
collection of the Library of Congress. The panoramas were used to advertise
real estate in Duluth during the 1870s.
Klett, Mark. Capital View: A New Panorama of Washington, D.C. San
Francisco: Book Studio, 1994. Call number: not yet in LC
Published in conjunction with an aexhibition at the
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Includes accordion
fold panorama views of Washington by Francis Hacker, 1875; Frederick Brehn,
1903; and Mark Klett, 1992-1993.
Meehan, Joseph. Panoramic Photography. New York: AMPHOTO, 1990.
Call number: TR661.N65 1991
Primarily a book on panoramic photography techniques.
Extensive information about the various types of panoramic cameras currently
in use, also contains brief historical information and an extensive bibliography.
Mellon, George. Panoramic Photography. Chicago: Times Printing
Co., 1897. Call number: TR661.M52 1897
Examines how to make panoramic photographs from two
or more negatives.
Munday, Harold. "Panoramic Cameras and Panoramic Perspective," Photo-Era,
vol. 40 (January, 1918):5-6. Call number: TR1.P63
Concise explanation of how perspective is rendered by
Muybridge, Eadweard and Mark Klett. One City/Two Visions: San Francisco
Panoramas, 1878 and 1990. San Francisco: Bedford Arts, Publishers,
1990. Call number: F869.S343M69 1990 [P&P]
Accordion-fold format, with one photograph on each side.
Includes an introduction by Peter Bacon Hales and a brief essay by Klett.
The Panoramic Image. Southampton: John Hansard Gallery, The
University, 1981. Call number: TR661.P35 1981 [P&P]
Exhibition catalog with three essays that discuss the
panoramic genre represented through painting, printmaking, and photography.
"Panoramic Photography." The Photo-Miniature, vol. 7 (October
1905):1-12. Call number: MICROFORM 82/900 [T] P62, "History of Photography
Discusses the history of panoramic cameras. (The entire
issue of this journal is devoted to panoramic photography.)
Panoramic Photography : Grey Art Gallery & Study Center, New York University
Faculty of Arts and Science, New York, New York. New York: The Gallery,
1977. Call number: TR661.G73 1977 [P&P]
A brief introduction to panoramic photography and a
checklist of the exhibition, several illustrations.
Pearce, Joseph N. "Panoramic Photography." The Camera, vol.
8 (October 1904):381-389. Call number: MICROFORM 82/900 [T] P30, "History of
Photography Microfilm Series"
In-depth article on making panoramas from multiple negatives.
Rosenblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography. New York:
Abbeville Press, 1984. Call number: TR15.R67 1984 [P&P]
A brief synopsis of early panoramic photography is provided.
Spira, S.F. "Panoramic Photographs as Nineteenth Century Book Illustrations," History
of Photography, vol. 13 (July-September 1989):204-214. Call number:
Discusses the Pantascopic camera, which used single,
glass plate panoramic negatives in the 1860s.
Thomas, W. "Some Practical Notes." The Amateur Photographer,
vol. 32 (October 5, 1900):272-274. Call number: TR1.A38
Describes how to use the No. 1 Panoram manufactured
Prepared by: Carol Johnson, Assistant Curator, Photography, October 12, 1997