Negative Log Book Number 3, (72-1 to 72-11410)

About the Project

For almost its entire history the Smithsonian Institution has had a photographer or photographic staff documenting artifacts, events, and exhibits. The body of work created dates back to 1869, when our first photographer, Thomas William Smillie, started our valuable photographic catalog. In 1971, a centralized photographic unit, Smithsonian Photographic Services (SPS), was created, continuing the legacy of a century’s worth of photography. For almost forty years Smithsonian photographers in the Smithsonian Photographic Services (SPS) unit documented artifacts, events, exhibits, and copy photography of archival collections from units all across the Institution. They recorded their photo shoots in a series of handwritten notebooks referred to as the “green logbooks.” In 2008, Smithsonian Institution Archives took over all of the historic photo collections created by Smithsonian photographers, with an estimated 3 million photographic negatives. Our only “key” to understanding what is in these photographic collections lies in the negative logbooks recorded by the photographers.

Help us unlock the visual history of the Smithsonian Institution by joining in our transcription efforts so that we might discover forgotten photography from our endlessly fascinating past.

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