Research: Finding Images

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) collection includes more than 3 million images, making it the perfect place to start your search. More than 80,000 of these have been digitized and placed online, with that number growing daily. To search for digital images, visit the WHS online collection.

If you find WHS images you would like to use, email us a list, including titles and image ID numbers, at wi101@history.wisc.edu. We’ll then take care of the rest, including reproduction permissions, image resolution, and format.

Since only a fraction of WHS images have been uploaded to the web, you may also want to take a trip to Madison to search the image archives in person. Information about visiting the collection can be found on the Wisconsin Historical Society website. WHS staff will be happy to help you in your search. If you find unscanned WHS images that you would like to use, email us a list of their titles and the collections and folders where you found them and we’ll arrange for scanning.

Milwaukee newspapermen perusing photographs, c. 1920. Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID 33060.
Milwaukee newspapermen perusing photographs, c. 1920. Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID 33060.

 

There are many other places you can search for images, both online and in-person. For example, the US Library of Congress has an enormous collection of over 1 million digitized images.

If you get stuck, send us an email at wi101@history.wisc.edu and we’ll suggest other places to find images for your submission.

Finally, it’s very important to record the current location and owner of photographs or other images you find, especially if they do not belong to the Wisconsin Historical Society. The web is a very visual medium and we want to illustrate your object history as best we can. Having this information will help us get permission to reproduce those images online under United States copyright law.

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