Search within:

Donate Photographs

Ask Archives and Special Collections

Interested in donating photographs? Please contact Photo Archivist Laura Smith to learn more about whether the Documentary Photography Archive might be a good fit for your material.


The Documentary Photography Archive collects original primary research materials that have enduring archival value to the history, content, and techniques of documentary photography and which align with OHIO’s student-centered teaching focus and curriculum needs.

Criteria include, but are not limited to:


Ohio-specific photography, particularly related to the city of Athens and Appalachian Ohio, is of special interest.


19th – 20th century documentary photography


  • Professional or amateur/hobby documentary photography
  • Newspaper photography and photojournalism, including photo-essays
  • Social documentary photography or concerned photography
  • Narrative photography
  • Collections that distinctly support the study of historical and/or unique photographic processes in documentary photography, including formats, technology, and technique, and for which the content closely aligns with Ohio University curriculum
  • Documentary photography that specifically relates to and compliments other materials held in the Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections (Manuscripts, Rare Books, and University Archives) to further support scholarship and creative study

Format and types

All analog photograph formats are considered, including negatives, transparencies, slides, and prints. Other formats include text (such as manuscripts, records, and publications) and artifacts (such as cameras or camera lenses) that are directly related photography and the photographer’s process.


  • Original black-and-white and color photography
  • Textual support materials documenting the work and business of the photographer (such as articles, journals, diaries, business records, release forms, etc.)
  • Materials that assist with the retrieval and accessibility of the collection (such as inventories, proof sheets, etc.)
  • Partial collections from a photographer’s body of work which closely match the aforementioned subject areas

The following materials are outside the Documentary Photography Archive’s collecting scope:

  • Fine art photography, commercial photography, artwork, and copies of material held elsewhere
  • Material on permanent loan or active files

Rights Transfer and Accessibility

Transfer of full property and intellectual rights of the collection, agreed upon by both parties in the deed of gift, is required. The Libraries makes its collections widely accessible for research and learning. The ability to use – and authorize use of – its archival collections is imperative to its mission.

For more information about donating a collection to the Documentary Photography Archive, please refer to:

Collection Contact

Laura Smith, Photo Archivist, Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.