UCR-California Museum of Photography faces the challenge of
providing ready, useful and intellectual access to a valuable body of cultural and
educational resources of interest to the general public and scholars alike.
Consisting of 250,000 stereoscopic glass-plate and film negatives and 100,000
vintage prints, UCR-California Museum of Photography's Keystone-Mast Collection is
the archive of the Keystone View Company of Meadville, PA (active from 1892-1963).
As a collection, it is the world's largest body of original stereoscopic negatives
and prints providing an encyclopedic view of global cultural history. Formed over
the period of the United States' emergence as a world power, Keystone-Mast not only
chronicles an age, it also represents in pictures a dominant point of view about the
world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is an important tool for
among others, anthropologists, art historians, cultural studies scholars,
historians, political scientists and sociologists.
Keystone-Mast Collection Guide 2003 provides online access to
approximately twenty percent (approximately 28,872) of the total stereographic
collection. To date, it represents content from the following geopolitical subject
areas: entries from North America, from Central America, from West Indies (Caribbean
Islands), from South America, from Oceania, from Asia, from Africa, and from the
Middle East. When finished, the collection guide will consist of well over 100,000
online stereoviews complete with metadata.
UCR/CMP's 2007-2008 Keystone-Mast digitization
initiative, which was completed through a National Endowment for the Humanities
Preservation and Access grant, has contributed an additional 13,155 stereoscopic
views of the Middle East and southern Asia, including views of Algeria, Egypt,
India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The Keystone View Company was founded by amateur photographer, B. L. Singley of
Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1892. Taking advantage of the public's curiosity in
viewing disasters, Singley launched the company into the stereo market with sets of
thirty stereo cards that recorded the flooding of the nearby French Creek. The
growth of stereo photography, depicting national and international subjects,
paralleled the emergence of modern America on the world's stage. Other factors which
bolstered stereography's popularity was the novelty of experiencing explicit
three-dimensional detail in a stereo card and the potential for card owners to
frequently revisit views of world events in privateor during social gatherings.
Stereographs were to nineteenth century generations, what television and the
Internet are to contemporary culture, and enabled armchair observers to have
vicarious experiences in faraway places.
The physical collection consists of 250,000 stereoscopic glass-plate and
film negatives and 100,000 vintage prints
42,027 digital items available online