"The Pageant of America: A Pictorial History of the United States" was published by Yale University Press from 1925-1929 and depicts a visual history of the United States up to the start of the Modern Era. NYPL's collection contains approximately 8,000 photographs, including photos published in fifteen visually thematic volumes of the series as well as unpublished photographs that were not selected for reproduction. Major photographers include Alexander Gardner, William Henry Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, Rudolph Eichmeyer, Edward S. Curtis, and Man Ray; also represented are commercial and government agencies such as the Brown Brothers photo agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Consolidated Edison. The collection's arrangement preserves the original archival order and thematic framework established by series editor Ralph Henry Gabriel.
Biographical/historical: Ralph Henry Gabriel (1890-1988), Yale University history professor (and founder and past president of the American Studies Association) was one of the first academic historians to recognize and promote the research value of documentary pictorial materials. He was especially sensitive to their role in interpreting history to an educated general audience. In addition to The Pageant of America, he edited the Library of Congress's Series in American Civilization, served actively in the American Historical Association, and was the author of several high school and college history texts.