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Guide to the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: How to Use the Collection

Welcome! This guide will provide an overview about the five collections that make up the Wallach Division of Art, Prints, and Photographs


Before visiting any of the Collections it is important to plan ahead.

  • All who have a New York Public Library Card are welcome to consult collection material. 
  • Since we are composed of five collections, we all hold different operating hours and/or additional restrictions.
  • As a research library:
    • In the Picture Collection users may borrow up to 60 pictures at a time on any subject with a library card.
      • Patrons can browse the shelves or ask a librarian to find images.
    • The other collections are non-circulating, material must be consulted in the building.
      • We are a closed-stack library so patrons will need to request the material they would like to see with library staff.
  • Navigating our holdings varies from collection to collection.
    • The brief descriptions below can help narrow down how to search our holdings for each collection.
  • For additional information, check out the Plan Your Research Visit page.

The Art & Architecture Collection


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The Art & Architecture Collection is the primary access point for readers and researchers wishing access to published works on fine art, decorative arts, architecture and design history.

  • Search the library’s online catalog at to see our vast collection of books, journals and newspapers...
    • Need tips on searching the library catalog click here.
  • For further information or to request material email

The Photography Collection


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The Photography Collection includes examples of almost every photographic process, from the daguerreotype to digital imagery.

  • Search the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog in order to see our holdings.
    • Tip: search by photographer’s name, title of work, photographic process, or time period.
  • Books and periodicals on general photography are accessible primarily through the Art & Architecture Collection and are searchable in the Library’s online catalog.
  • For further information or to request material email

The Print Collection

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The Print Collection holds close to 200,000 original prints, ranging from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, and screenprints to digital prints.

The Picture Collection

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The Picture Collection is an unparalleled visual resource for creative people in any medium. It contains well over one million original prints, photographs, posters, postcards, and illustrations from books, magazines, and newspapers, classified into subject headings.

The Spencer Collection

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The Spencer Collection surveys the illustrated word and book bindings of all periods countries and cultures.

Reference Librarians

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Art & Architecture Collection Reference Librarians
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
Third Floor, Room 300
New York, NY 10018
(212) 930-0835