Lisa Unger Baskin, who assembled this collection of photographs centered on women's history and culture, is a bibliophile, collector, and activist. Collection consists of 486 photographs in a variety of formats typical for the time, chiefly albumen. Image data includes titles, dates, biography of the photographer, studio addresses, and other notes. Roughly three-quarters were produced by commercial women photographers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The great majority of the images are studio portraits of white men, women, children, and families; there are also many photographs of well-known women artists, intellectuals, and activists of the time, as well as women and men in work settings, at play, and posed in group portraits. Roughly 35 images are portraits of African Americans and other people of color. Acquired as part of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection at Duke University.
Collection consists of 486 photographic items, almost all single prints, in a variety of formats typical for the 19th and early 20th centuries, largely albumen, with some gelatin silver prints, a few tintypes, daguerreotypes, glass plates, and one cyanotype. There are also some mechanical prints such as Woodburytypes and half-tone prints. Roughly three-quarters of the images were taken by women photographers operating or managing studios in all regions of the United States, with a smaller number in England, Sweden, Canada, and a few other countries; some were well-known but the majority were small business operators in smaller cities and towns. Whenever possible, a brief photographer's biography is included with the image entry.
The majority of the images are studio portraits of North American men, women, children, and families. Roughly 25 images are portraits of African American or mixed-race individuals young and old, with a few groups of people of color. There are several ethnographic images of northern African women and a few scenes from Southeast Asia. In addition to portraiture, the collection offers images of women artists, authors, nurses, teachers, and students, particularly graduating classes and early sports teams; and women and girls in boarding house and hotel rooms, at work (factories, offices, mines), and at play. Also present are many portraits of female actors, celebrities, entertainers, and wealthy individuals. Of interest are several photographic images distributed by abolitionist movements of light-skinned slave children. There are also groups of commercially produced postcards, collectible cards (including a set of Newsboy cards), and stereographs.
Original titles have been transcribed when present; in the absence of a title, which was frequently the case, library staff devised descriptive titles. When present, dates have been transcribed; the great majority are approximate and are based on the format, biographies and geneaological information, and clothing styles.