March 3, 2010

Montana History…in 3D!

Everything is more exciting in 3D! And while we are currently experiencing a new wave of interest in the technology, stereoscopic photography has been enjoyed by countless viewers for over 150 years. Before 3D movies, View-Masters and those posters at the mall, there were stereographs. All the rage in the Victorian era, stereographs employ a relatively simple technique. Two very similar photographs are placed side-by-side on a rectangular card. When viewed through a stereoscope, the images appear to overlap, creating the illusion of a single, three-dimensional image.

Over the years, the Research Center Photograph Archives has acquired thousands of stereographs representing the photography of dozens of celebrated Montana photographers and studios including Bundy & Train, N. A. Forsyth, Stanley J. Morrow, F. Jay Haynes, and Calfee & Catlin. Until recently, one had to visit us in person or submit a request to search the stereograph collection. But over the past months we have been working to create finding aids for our stereographs, which are organized by photographer. These finding aids include biographical information about the photographers and overviews of the collections as well as titles, descriptions, and dates for the individual stereographs.

There are currently two stereograph finding aids available online through the Northwest Digital Archives: the guides to the N. A. Forsyth stereographs and the Calfee & Catlin stereographs (a stereoscope and stereographs from the N. A. Forsyth collection are pictured at right). We hope to create and upload many more finding aids in the future, so please follow the link below to check out our finding aids, and visit us in person on the third floor of the Historical Society to see Montana history in 3D!

Finding Aids on the Northwest Digital Archives