The Historic Photo Archives consist of dozens of collections of photographs, negatives, and slides, primarily of people and places from Milwaukee’s past.
Attention: Under Milwaukee Public Library's limited service model, in-person research with this collection is currently unavailable. We hope to be available by appointment only soon. Please check back for updates.
Historic Photo Collection
The Historic Photo Collection (MHP-6) is the largest collection within MPL's Historic Photo Archives. It contains tens of thousands of photographs of Milwaukee, ranging in date from the late 19th century through the latter part of the 20th century.
Historic Photo Collection Index
The online Historic Photo Collection Index, linked above, is list of headings and sub-headings into which these photos have been organized. A more detailed index is available in print format at the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room reference desk.
Milwaukee Historic Photos (digital collection)
This digital collection contains digitized images of a growing number of photographs from the Historic Photo Collection.
Other Historic Photo Archives Collections
Finding aids for most of the collections in the Historic Photo Archives may be consulted in paper form in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at the Central Library. Finding aids for the collections in the Historic Photo Archives may also be found online by using Archival Resources in Wisconsin which contains the finding aids of archival collections in the Milwaukee Public Library and around the state of Wisconsin. Searching for collections may also be done using CountyCat, particularly to find related materials.
Browse by collection type:
Using the Collections
To learn more about these collections, please visit the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at Central Library or call 414-286-3061.
Except as otherwise noted in the collection descriptions, Historic Photo Archives materials are available to be viewed upon request in the Humanities Room. Annual completion of a Special Collections Use form is required and will be kept on file in the department.