Picture History: Offering License Digital American History Images

This site is restored for use in Professor Sam Dell's courses Marketing Digital Products and Licensing As A Business Model. Dr. Dell is a principal in FLight, the digital marketing agency and was responsible for bringing Jeff Fink onboard. Fink/Dell produced the viral hit "Dog The Wag" for GoodNightDog.com, the dog beds store. The retailer offers luxury round pillow dog beds created with fashionably styled fabrics and sells to the upscale dog owner - these beds often end up permanently in the living room. Dr. Dell is also guiding a private licensing enterprise, where digital products only exist on computers, and the uses are monetized via licensing agreements. He shares what he's learned from his licensing project in these courses.

In 2010 Picture History offered license digital images illustrating more than two hundred years of American history. You could browse by category, decade, photographer or by anniversary.


Abraham Lincoln
Architecture & Buildings
Arts & Entertainment
Business & Commerce
Historic Eras & Events
Law & Criminal Justice System
Life Cycle
People & Professions
Places & Vistas
Politics & Government
Science, Health, Medicine
Social Conditions and Trends
Transportation & Communication
War & Military


The content below is from the site’s 2010 archived pages giving just a brief look at what the site use to offer its visitors. Images are no longer available in this iteration of the site. Please peruse for only historical purposes.

About Picture History

Picture History is an on-line archive of images illustrating more than 200 years of American history. High resolution images are available for professional licensing. Framed and unframed photographs are available for sale at the Print Shop. Included in its holdings are the Picture History Collection, the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection, and the Gordon Parks Collection.

The Picture History Collection includes 18th, 19th, and 20th century images. It specializes in American Presidents, the White House, and the iconic people, scenes, and events that tell the story of American history.

The Meserve-Kunhardt Collection includes 19th and early 20th century photography. It is known for its holdings on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, including not only scenes but the officers of both the Union and Confederate army and navy. It's holdings include coverage of the theater, the world of PT Barnum, early New York City and Washington DC, Native Americans, African Americans, artists, writers, journalists, clergy, scientists, and a large collection of notable 19th century American women.

The Gordon Parks Collection includes the life work of one of the 20th century's best known photojournalists. His images cover a broad range of subject that serve as distinct markers in American history. (Coming Soon)

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is this website safe? A: Yes. Please read our Privacy Policy and Website Terms.


Q: How do I create an account with Picture History?
A: Select Register and fill out the appropriate information to create an account with Picture History. Please remember your Username and Password, as you will be asked for them when you log-in to Picture History at each visit.

Q: How do I change my username and/or password?
A: Go to the My Account page after logging in to the site and click "edit login information".

Q: How do I add an image to my shopping cart?
A: Click on the shopping cart icon  underneath the image on either the search results page, product page or in the lightbox.

Q: How do I add an image to my lightbox?
A: Click on the lightbox icon  underneath the image on either the search results page or product page.

Q: How do I remove an image from my lightbox?
A: Click on the remove from lightbox icon  underneath the image in the lightbox.

Q: How do I send an e-card of an image?
A: Click on the e-card icon  underneath the image on the product page.

Q: How do I download an image I licensed?
A: Once you have completed the checkout process, your high-resolution, digital images will be available immediately for download from your My Account page. The My Account page will display the image's Item #, its title, its file size, and the download expiration date (downloads are available for two weeks from the date of purchase). Simply click on an image's title to begin the download process. You will be asked to select a download location. The image will be delivered to you as a jpeg. Please remember to check the image's file size before you begin downloading, so you can get an approximate idea of how long the download will take.

Q: How do I download an image without the Picture History watermark?
A: You must purchase a license for an image in order to download the image without a watermark. Create an account, send the image to your Cart, and select the license rights you will need for the image(s). After you have priced the image(s) click the checkout button and follow the directions. Your image will be available for download without a watermark on the My Account page once your order has been processed. If you would like to purchase a print of the image(s), please visit the Picture History Print Shop.



More Background On PictureHistoryPrints.com

PictureHistoryPrints.com stands as a unique repository of American historical images, providing a digital archive that spans over two centuries of visual documentation. This platform, now revitalized for educational purposes by Professor Sam Dell, originally aimed to offer high-resolution images for professional licensing and prints for sale. While the current iteration of the site focuses on historical purposes, its roots and offerings provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of digital archiving and licensing.

Historical Background

PictureHistoryPrints.com originally emerged in 2010, designed to offer licensed digital images that illustrate American history. The platform allowed users to browse images by categories, decades, photographers, and anniversaries, making it a versatile tool for historians, educators, and enthusiasts alike. The site housed several significant collections, including the Picture History Collection, the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection, and the Gordon Parks Collection.

  1. The Picture History Collection: This collection includes images from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, focusing on American presidents, the White House, and other iconic scenes and events that shaped American history.
  2. The Meserve-Kunhardt Collection: Known for its extensive coverage of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, this collection also features early photographs of New York City and Washington D.C., Native Americans, African Americans, and notable 19th-century American women.
  3. The Gordon Parks Collection: Showcasing the life work of Gordon Parks, one of the most renowned photojournalists of the 20th century, this collection covers a broad spectrum of American history markers.

Licensing and Commercial Use

The platform's primary appeal lies in its licensing model, which allows users to purchase high-resolution images for various professional uses. This licensing model is particularly valuable for media companies, educators, and historians who require authentic historical images for their projects. The site's comprehensive FAQ section provided clear instructions on account creation, image licensing, and downloading, ensuring a user-friendly experience.

Comparative Analysis with Similar Archives

Several other online archives offer similar services, providing a rich context for understanding PictureHistoryPrints.com's unique position.

  1. UK Photo and Social History Archive: This platform offers a vast array of public domain images, primarily focusing on British history. Similar to PictureHistoryPrints.com, it allows users to explore historical images for both personal and commercial use. The emphasis on royalty-free public domain images makes it accessible, but it lacks the specialized American focus of PictureHistoryPrints.com.

  2. Look and Learn: This historical picture archive features over two million illustrations, covering a broader historical timeline from prehistory to the mid-20th century. The platform's model, which includes both free public domain images and premium content, mirrors the licensing approach of PictureHistoryPrints.com but with a more global perspective.

  3. West Newcastle Picture History Collection: Focused on the heritage of Newcastle upon Tyne, this community-maintained archive highlights the importance of local historical documentation. Although smaller in scope compared to PictureHistoryPrints.com, it demonstrates the value of volunteer-driven archival projects in preserving regional history.

User Reviews and Community Feedback

While specific user reviews for PictureHistoryPrints.com are sparse due to its niche market, general feedback from similar archives can provide insights.

  • Accessibility: Users often praise the accessibility of historical image archives, emphasizing the ease of finding and licensing images for various projects. PictureHistoryPrints.com likely benefited from its user-friendly interface and comprehensive search options.
  • Quality of Images: High-resolution images are a crucial factor for professional use, and archives like PictureHistoryPrints.com that offer these are highly valued.
  • Educational Value: Educators and students appreciate the rich educational resources provided by historical archives. PictureHistoryPrints.com, with its curated collections and detailed categorization, serves as an excellent educational tool.

The Future of Digital Historical Archives

Digital historical archives like PictureHistoryPrints.com play a crucial role in preserving and disseminating historical knowledge. As technology advances, these platforms are likely to become even more integrated into educational and professional environments. Enhancements in digital archiving techniques, metadata tagging, and AI-driven search capabilities will further enhance the accessibility and usability of such archives.


PictureHistoryPrints.com offers a valuable service by providing access to high-quality historical images that document the rich tapestry of American history. Through its licensing model, it supports various professional and educational uses, ensuring that these historical images continue to inform and inspire future generations. Comparisons with other archives highlight its unique American focus and professional-grade offerings, making it a standout resource in the field of digital historical archiving. As digital archiving technology continues to evolve, platforms like PictureHistoryPrints.com will remain essential tools for preserving and sharing our collective historical heritage.



Comparative Analysis with Similar Archives

Several other online archives provide similar services, highlighting the unique offerings of PictureHistoryPrints.com.

  1. UK Photo and Social History Archive: This platform focuses on British history, offering a vast array of public domain images. While it shares a similar licensing model, it lacks the specialized American focus of PictureHistoryPrints.com​​.
  2. Look and Learn: Featuring over two million historical illustrations, this archive offers both free public domain images and premium content. Its global perspective and extensive collection make it a valuable resource, although it doesn't focus exclusively on American history​.
  3. The National Archives Image Library: This site offers a broad collection of historical images from various periods and regions. It provides high-resolution TIFF images for a fee, similar to PictureHistoryPrints.com's licensing model, but with a broader scope that includes documents and maps.

User Reviews and Community Feedback

Feedback from similar archives provides insights into the likely reception of PictureHistoryPrints.com.

  • Accessibility: Users appreciate the ease of finding and licensing images, a feature likely shared by PictureHistoryPrints.com due to its user-friendly interface.
  • Image Quality: The availability of high-resolution images is a significant draw for professional users, and PictureHistoryPrints.com's focus on high-quality digital images is a strong selling point.
  • Educational Value: The platform’s comprehensive collections and detailed categorization make it an excellent educational tool, appreciated by educators and students alike.

Popularity and Impact

While specific popularity metrics for PictureHistoryPrints.com are not readily available, the platform's niche market and specialized offerings suggest it holds a significant position among digital historical archives. The revival of the site for educational purposes indicates a sustained interest and utility in academic settings.

The Future of Digital Historical Archives

Digital archives like PictureHistoryPrints.com are crucial for preserving and disseminating historical knowledge. As technology advances, these platforms are expected to become even more integrated into educational and professional environments. Enhancements in digital archiving techniques, metadata tagging, and AI-driven search capabilities will further improve the accessibility and usability of such archives.



Educational Institutions and Academics

One of the primary audiences for PictureHistoryPrints.com is educational institutions and academics. Universities, colleges, and schools benefit significantly from the extensive collections of historical images available on the site. Professors and students use these images for various purposes:

  • Teaching Materials: Professors incorporate high-resolution images into lectures and presentations to provide visual context for historical events.
  • Research Projects: Students and researchers access the archive to find primary sources and visual documentation for their theses and dissertations.
  • Educational Resources: The site is also used to create educational content, such as textbooks and online courses, enhancing the learning experience with authentic historical visuals.

Media and Publishing Industry

Another significant audience includes professionals in the media and publishing industry. The high-quality, licensable images from PictureHistoryPrints.com serve numerous purposes:

  • Documentaries and Films: Filmmakers and documentarians use historical images to add authenticity and depth to their visual narratives.
  • Books and Magazines: Authors and publishers incorporate these images into historical books, biographies, and magazine articles, providing readers with a richer, more engaging experience.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Agencies use historical images to create compelling campaigns that resonate with audiences by tapping into historical themes and nostalgia.

Museums and Cultural Institutions

Museums and cultural institutions also form a key part of the audience for PictureHistoryPrints.com. These entities utilize the archive for:

  • Exhibitions: Curators and exhibition designers use historical images to create exhibits that vividly depict historical events and figures.
  • Educational Programs: Museums develop educational programs and materials that incorporate these images to engage visitors and provide deeper historical insights.
  • Archival Research: Cultural institutions conducting research on historical topics find the site's collections invaluable for their studies and publications.

Genealogists and Historians

Genealogists and independent historians represent another important user group for PictureHistoryPrints.com. These individuals use the platform for:

  • Family History Research: Genealogists find images of historical figures, locations, and events that are relevant to their family history research.
  • Historical Writing: Independent historians use the archive to source images for books, articles, and blogs, enhancing their historical narratives with visual evidence.

Art and Design Professionals

Professionals in the art and design industry also find PictureHistoryPrints.com to be a valuable resource. Uses in this field include:

  • Graphic Design: Designers incorporate historical images into various projects, such as posters, book covers, and digital media.
  • Fine Arts: Artists use these images as references or inspiration for their artwork, ensuring historical accuracy and depth in their creations.
  • Fashion and Textile Design: Fashion designers and textile artists use historical images to inspire new designs that blend historical and contemporary aesthetics.

Hobbyists and Enthusiasts

Finally, PictureHistoryPrints.com appeals to a broad audience of history enthusiasts and hobbyists. These users engage with the platform for personal enjoyment and enrichment:

  • Collecting: Hobbyists collect historical images for personal archives or to decorate their homes and offices with framed prints.
  • Learning: Enthusiasts use the site to learn more about specific historical periods, events, or figures that interest them.
  • Community Engagement: These users often share their findings and knowledge in online forums, social media groups, and local history clubs, fostering a community of history lovers.


PictureHistoryPrints.com serves a diverse audience ranging from educational institutions and media professionals to genealogists, designers, and hobbyists. Its extensive and high-quality collections provide valuable resources for teaching, research, creative projects, and personal enrichment. As digital archiving technology continues to evolve, the platform is poised to expand its reach and impact, becoming an even more integral tool for preserving and exploring American history.


Cultural & Social Significance

Preserving Historical Memory

PictureHistoryPrints.com plays a vital role in preserving historical memory, particularly of American history. By offering access to a wide array of images documenting significant events, figures, and everyday life, the platform ensures that these visual records are not lost to time. This preservation is crucial for maintaining a collective understanding of the past and its impact on the present.

  1. Historical Accuracy: The site provides high-resolution images that are valuable for ensuring historical accuracy in various forms of media. Accurate visual documentation helps prevent the distortion of historical facts and narratives.
  2. Cultural Heritage: By archiving images from different periods, PictureHistoryPrints.com helps preserve the cultural heritage of the United States. This includes images of significant events, cultural practices, and societal changes, which are essential for understanding the nation's development.

Educational Impact

PictureHistoryPrints.com significantly impacts education by providing valuable resources for teaching and learning.

  1. Visual Learning: The availability of historical images enhances visual learning, making history more engaging and accessible for students. Visual aids can help students better understand and retain historical information.
  2. Resource for Research: The platform is an invaluable resource for academic research. Scholars, historians, and students can access primary visual sources that support their studies and research projects, contributing to a deeper understanding of historical contexts.

Supporting the Media and Creative Industries

The media and creative industries benefit greatly from the resources provided by PictureHistoryPrints.com.

  1. Documentaries and Films: Filmmakers use historical images to add authenticity to documentaries and films. This use of real images helps to create a more immersive and credible portrayal of historical events.
  2. Publishing: Publishers and authors incorporate historical images into books and articles, enhancing the storytelling and providing readers with visual references that complement the written content.
  3. Design and Advertising: Graphic designers and advertisers use historical images to create compelling visuals for various campaigns, products, and projects. This not only adds depth to their work but also appeals to audiences' sense of nostalgia and historical awareness.

Enhancing Public Engagement with History

PictureHistoryPrints.com fosters public engagement with history, making it accessible to a broader audience.

  1. Community Involvement: By providing a platform where historical images are easily accessible, PictureHistoryPrints.com encourages community involvement in historical preservation and education. Local historians, genealogists, and history enthusiasts can contribute to and benefit from this resource.
  2. Public Exhibitions: Museums and cultural institutions use the site to source images for public exhibitions, making historical knowledge more accessible to the general public. These exhibitions can spark interest in history and encourage further exploration.

Contributing to Social Understanding

The images available on PictureHistoryPrints.com provide valuable insights into the social conditions and trends of different historical periods.

  1. Social Conditions and Trends: The archive includes images that document social conditions, trends, and everyday life across various periods in American history. This documentation helps to understand the social dynamics and cultural shifts that have shaped the nation.
  2. Diversity and Inclusion: The platform's collections highlight the contributions and experiences of diverse groups, including Native Americans, African Americans, and women. By showcasing these images, PictureHistoryPrints.com promotes a more inclusive understanding of American history.


PictureHistoryPrints.com holds significant cultural and social importance by preserving historical memory, enhancing education, supporting media and creative industries, fostering public engagement with history, and contributing to social understanding. As a digital archive, it ensures that valuable visual records of American history are accessible to a wide audience, helping to maintain and enrich the collective memory of the nation's past.