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Images for Designers and Art Researchers

NYPL Picture Collection

Update from Picture Collection, dated 1/12/21

Dear Friends,

As educators who have brought your class to learn about using the Picture Collection at the New York Public Library,  I’m reaching out to let you know that even though our physical location remains closed for in-person visits, we are now able to meet you and your students virtually, replicating the site-visit experience that was an important part of the semester.

We can schedule a virtual appointment for your class to visit through Google Meet to learn about the Picture Collection with a librarian. We can show examples of what the collection holds via a document camera and we can guide the class in how to use the Library’s digital collections. If students are interested in doing further research on a subject, we can also schedule individual one-hour appointments for researchers.

During an individual appointment, a librarian will show the pictures in a subject folder(s) under a document camera. Researchers are welcome to take screenshots, we can scan pictures the researcher asks us to set aside, or we can check out the pictures to a library card for pick up outside the building (someone will come down and meet you outside).

We can also offer collaborative presentations on illustration in children’s books and research for artists with librarians in other NYPL collections to help further understanding of available resources for students in the Library. Please see our list of collaborative opportunities below for more information. 

We are available Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM for virtual appointments. Please email or call us at 212.340.0878 to schedule a class visit or an individual virtual consultation appointment.

Helpful Links

Picture Collection Libguide:

Subject headings list:


Collaboration possibilities with other library collections:

Art & Architecture Collection of the Wallach Division

Research for Artists: 

A review of the huge selection of online content to help artists with research, including visual research, like seeing how something has been depicted by other artists, over time and from many practices and cultures, and scholarly, such as reading on a topic’s history or analysis from peer-reviewed journals and selections from our books.  

Children's Center at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library

Partnering with the Children's Center at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, we can provide an introduction to works of children’s literature that demonstrate the practical application of illustration techniques and mediums in children’s book publishing. A children’s librarian will review the array of resources available in this collection in relation to the study and practice of art and design for students.  


NA at the University Center. 
Search for the architect's name in BobCat. 
Search by building type: "Greek Temples," "Museums," "New York Apartments" or "Restaurants and Bars."

TR 729 at the University Center and QL at the List Center.
Search BobCat for "animals pictorial," "wildlife photography," and related terms.

N for Fine Art, NB for sculpture, NC for drawing, ND for painting and NE for prints at the University Center Main Collection. 
Search for the artist's name in BobCat.  If you don't know the artist's name, search BobCat for the culture/religion/country associated with the object.

NC at the University Center.  NA 2695-2709 for architectural drawing, T 353 for technical drawing, TT 509 for fashion illustration. Search for the artist's name in BobCat.  If you don't know the artist's name, search BobCat for the type of drawing you are looking for ("figure drawing") or the country or culture the drawing is from ("French drawing", "Renaissance drawing").

Fashion Collections
TT 505
at the University Center.  Search BobCat for the designer's name.

Fashion Drawing/Illustration
TT 509 at the University Center

NK 2205-2270 at the University Center
Search BobCat for the manufacturer ("Knoll") or type of furniture ("chairs", "American antique furniture.").

Search BobCat for the name of the interior designer, or for the type of interiors ("Scandinavian interiors") ("kitchens").

TR 660 for landscape photography, or try searching for a specific region.  For example, "Sahara" if you are looking for images of deserts, "Costa Rica" if you are looking for images of rain forests.

G and GA at the List Center , or search for "Maps" in the subject field in BobCat.

New York
F 128 at the List Center and NA 735 at the University Center.  Also search for "New York Photography."

TT 520 for women's clothing and TT590 for men's clothing.

NK 1390-1476 and NK 1530-1560 at the University Center or search for the type of pattern you are looking for ("Islamic Patterns").  Also try browsing the sections on Textiles/Fabric (NK 8806-8880 and TS 1300–1860) and Wallpaper (NK 3395-3340).

TR 680-1 at the University Center for portrait photography.  
For images of famous people, try searching by name ("Marilyn Monroe"), or for "celebrities portraits," "glamour photography," or "Hollywood photography."

Search by the photographer's name, or browse using the Photography Research Guide. 

Search BobCat for keywords [place]+pictorial.

Plants / Trees / Flowers / Gardens
SB at the List Center or TR 724 at the Universisty Center.
Also search BobCat for "trees pictorial," "nature photography," "English gardens," and other related terms.

NC 1805-50 at the University Center or search for the name of the poster artist ("Milton Glaser") or country of origin ("Cuban posters").

NE at the University Center or search by the artist's name, country of origin, or type of print ("etchings").

TS 23-194 for product design. 
Search BobCat for the type of product: ("toys," "tableware," or "clocks") or for the designer's name ("Karim Rashid").


The Library of Congress subject subheading for books with images is "pictorial."  So if you want pictures of the Civil War, try a search using the keywords "civil war pictorial" in BobCat, the library catalog.

When viewing the details page of a book in the library catalog, click on "More Bibliographic Information."  If the "Description" includes the abbreviation "ill.", this means the book is illustrated.


Print Periodicals are available from the New School University Center Library, and Special Collections.