Photographs of World War I battlefields, captured German installations and allied installations

Collection History

NYPL has a very strong collection of printed materials about the First World War, originally cataloged as the "European War, 1914-1918." It also holds original materials that are not well known. This digital presentation offers two unique compilations and two rare, published works. The two albums and the postcard series are relatively recent acquisitions, while the French automaker's publication was a routine acquisition of the 1910s.


The First World War lasted from 1914 to November 11, 1918 (the date on which the United States commemorates its war veterans), but the United States was an active participant for only the last eighteen months of the conflict. The two albums are both American, joining a larger tradition of creating personal records of one individual's participation in momentous events. The French book records the military use of a civilian factory, and the German postcards portray the German side of the war.

Related Resources

Carmichael, Jane. First World War Photographers (1989).

Dewitz, Bodo von. So wird bei uns der Krieg geführt!: Amateurfotografie im Ersten Weltkrieg (c1989)

Gallagher, Jean. The World Wars through the Female Gaze (1998).

Gilbert, Adrian. World War I in photographs (1986).

Haythornthwaite, Philip J. A Photohistory of World War One (1989-90, repr. c1993).

Holmes, Richard. The First World War in Photographs (c2001).

Der Krieg als Reise: der Erste Weltkrieg - Innenansichten (1999).

Latos, Henryk. Z historii fotografii wojennej (1985).

Miquel, Pierre. 1918, images de la victoire: janvier-novembre (c1998).

Miquel, Pierre. 14-18: mille images inédites (c1988).

Der Weltkrieg im Bild (1927-[1929?]). 2 v. [Bd. 1] Originalaufnahmen des Kriegs, Bild, und Filmamtes aus der modernen Materialschlaft; [Bd. 2] Frontaufnahmen aus den Archiven der Entente.

See also in Library Catalog: World War, 1914-1918 -- Pictorial works

Collection Data

Photographs from various sources mounted on matboard, most embellished with pencil drawings of related subjects, borders or remarques. Some drawings signed by Dudley J. Nelson. One view credited to Air service, Treves Airdome, 9th Aero Squadron. Mounts numbered variously, recto and verso. Arranged by numbers on recto. Box 1: Portraits of soldiers; scenes in trenches near Verdun: German dead, including skeletal remains; medical H.Q. and Red Cross at Thierville; Bismarck tunnel at "Deadman's Hill," showing entrances and devasted slopes; captured artillery and mortar; officers quarters, German monument at Forges-wood; Gercourt: church used as P.O.W. camp; Drillencourt: American observation post, ambulance dressing station, observation post in tree; devastated village of Septsarges; Sivry-sur-Meuse: pill box, destroyed church with crucifix on beam outlined against the sky, ruined crucifix on road to village; captured German locomotive and mobile dressing station on flatcar; Bois de Chaume: German artillery observation and control post, camouflaged huts and machine gun nests, entrance to dugout that could accommodate 1500 men; man in trench with hours posted as "watchmaker" and watches on display; wrecked railcars; fortified shell hole on hill 377; grenades; chalk pit at Braybant; Saulx: village and pillbox; ambulance dressing stations in Braybant, Chattencourt, Cumieres, Donnevaux; German ammunition camouflaged among trees; battlefields at Forges and Bethencourt; gas mortars and containers; Donnevaux: general view, church and cemetery views, including German monument, prison camp, ambulance dressing company; captured Austrian 77 gun. Box 2: Consenvoye: corner of church used as blacksmith shop, bridges and roads; Vilosnes: flooded valley of the Meuse, chapel, bridge, shell hole in pill box, damaged railroad and German ammo dug-outs, streets, interior of church; concrete and stone dugout, flash photo of interior of dugout; Dommartin: ambulance dressing stations, unexploded German mine; view of destroyed village of Marcheville; church at Saulx showing machine gun nest, pillbox; panoramic view of destroyed Fresnes; Mountfaucon: devastation, trenches, view through porthole of machine gun nest; captured pictures showing the Kaiser reviewing and decorating troops, Americans going over the top, transporting the dead by rail car; Hannonville: general view showing American graves, women doing laundry, German cemetery; panoramic view of St. Maurice; camouflaged road; rustic bungalows; balloon shed between Vilosnes and Donnevaux; aerial views of trenches, railhead at Conflas, review of 33 Division by General Pershing, troop movement and village; hand grenade exploding in shallow water; Americans advancing through artillery; plane from above, burning observation balloon, wrecked German and Allied planes; captured gun, Donnevaux; German brick kiln, bridge across shell hole; taxi in shell hole, Paris; ruined churches: Natillois, Bapaume, Albert; view at dusk of searchlight; first American graves at Romagne-sous-Montaucon. Subjects of drawings include: eagles with ribbons, doughboy bayonetting German; engineers building; helmet and bayonet; destroyed trees; ambulance; rosary; men cutting barbed wire; men at observation post; loading artillery; trenches; communication post; battle scene; caduceus; assisting wounded from field; German machine gunner; gas container; Corps of Engineers symbol; column of marching soldiers; bombs exploding; caissons, tank; airplanes; observation balloon; church at Ypres; men receiving blessing from priest in the field; church; telephones; men firing salute over American grave, French and American flags.
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1917 - 1918
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection
Shelf locator: MFY 94-347
World War, 1914-1918 -- Battlefields -- France
War damage
Photograph albums
Acquisition: Wallach Purchase Fund, 1989.
Physical Description
Extent: 195 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b ; various sizes on 66 mounts, 25 x 33 cm
Gelatin silver prints
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11957117
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 0af808d0-c6ef-012f-cb96-58d385a7bc34
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