Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Pageant of America

The Smithsonian American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library has in its collection the photograph archive, The Pageant of America. This collection has also recently been digitized by The New York Public Library:

Mrs. Wood as Lady Gay Spanker ... Digital ID: 99409. New York Public Library

In 1926, the United States celebrated its sesquicentennial, and a number of special projects were organized to document the country's people, history, culture, and folkways. One such project was The Pageant of America: A Pictorial History of the United States, published by Yale University Press from 1925 to 1929. Professor Ralph Henry Gabriel edited the work, and all told, it contained 15 volumes that addressed themes like exploration, arts and leisure, industry, commerce, and politics. This digital collection from the New York Public Library contains over 7000 of the published and unpublished photographs and prints used in these extravagant volumes. It's great just to look through the "Source Title" headings found by clicking on "Collection Contents" near the top of the page. Here visitors can meander through sections like "In defense of liberty", "American idealism", and "The American spirit in architecture". One can imagine that this collection could be used in American studies classroom, or in a setting that addresses the history of photography.

The Libraries describes the multiple volumes in its catalog:

v. 1. Adventures in the wilderness, by Clark Wissler, C.L. Skinner and William Wood.

v. 2. The lure of the frontier, a story of race conflict, by R.H. Gabriel.

v. 3. Toilers of land and sea, by R.H. Gabriel.

v. 4. The march of commerce, by Malcolm Keir.

v. 5. The epic of industry, by Malcolm Keir.

v. 6. The winning of freedom, by William Wood and R.H. Gabriel.

v. 7. In defense of liberty, by William Wood and R.H. Gabriel.

v. 8. Builders of the Republic, by F.A. Ogg.

v. 9. Makers of a new nation, by J.S. Bassett.

v. 10. American idealism, by L.A. Weigle.

v. 11. The American spirit in letters, by S.T. Williams.

v. 12. The American spirit in art, by F.J. Mather, Jr., C.R. Morey and W.J. Henderson.

v. 13. The American spirit in architecture, by T.F. Hamlin.

v. 14. The American stage, by O.S. Coad and Ewin Mims, Jr.

v. 15. Annals of American sport, by J.A. Krout.

The National Museum of American History Library and the Smithsonian American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library have some additional similar titles that may prove of interest . . .

—Elizabeth Periale, with the very able assistance of Chris Cottrill


  1. Beasley

    I have a complete set of the Pageant of America pub. 1925 would like to know the value

    • Stevan A. Sandberg

      I also have a complete set.
      Anyone know the value or if a library would like a contribution?

  2. Dean Meyers

    ?’m uncertain what exactly you are offering here. Is it possible for me to access a volume (or at least part of a volume) of the Pageant of America online? If so, can you tell me how I should proceed. I’m interested in Volumes 6 and 7. Thank you very much.

    • Dean Meyers

      Thank you very much, Erin. I appreciate your help, and will let you know how I do. All the best. DEAN

  3. Moses

    I have many many glass images of these photos that i would be willing to part with.

    • Lenny

      contact me at email above with glass images your interested in parting with…

  4. Moses

    Have many glass copies available

  5. Breakdown

    I have Glass negatives about 25 of them showing pictures of paintings or photographs. Are they worth anything?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.