Frequently Asked Questions

Girl with Tomatoes

What is the best way to search the collection?

The answer depends on what kind of photographs you are looking for. You can browse the entire collection in the library’s online catalog. Adding keywords can help focus your search. When doing a keyword search, less is always better than more; in other words, you would be more likely to get results with a keyword search st paul than with a search st pauls school lawrenceville. If you have any specific questions, please use our online reference request form.

Can I get copies of photographs in the collection?

Yes! Please see our policies on requesting reproductions for more information.

I would like to publish or exhibit photographs from the collection. How can I do that?

Please read our policy on use and reproduction of materials for more complete information.

I can’t find photographs located in my city/county/state. Does that mean there aren’t any in the collection?

Unfortunately, that is most likely the case. Davis was fairly consistent in providing geographic locations for his photographs; the project staff has expanded that information where possible to include city and town names, as well as county names within each state. You may also wish to look at the approximately 600 unidentified photographs; you can retrieve these photographs by typing unidentified in the Keyword search box.

Why is there more information about the Virginia photographs than about photographs from other states?

The grant staff realized that in order to finish the project within its time frame, we would have to limit in-depth research to a portion of the photographs in the collection. There are more than 1,500 photographs from Virginia (three times more than from any other state), representing nearly half of the Jackson Davis Collection. Since we are a Virginia institution, we felt it was appropriate to concentrate on the Virginia photographs first. We hope that other institutions will develop projects to research images from other states; we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on extending our work.