6/06/2011

Polish digital photo archive

One of the types of materials frequently requested by patrons, but not always easy to locate, are photographs of particular historical persons, events or locations. Polish non-profit organization, OĊ›rodek Karta, which is dedicated to preserving historical materials. Among other initiatives, the organization is dedicated to digitizing its collection of over 160,000 photographs illustrating the social history of Poland and East-Central Europe in the 20th century. Although not the entire corpus has been made available online yet, the archive’s website it is well worth visiting. Some of the photographs in the collection have been donated by private persons, others are works of renowned Polish photojournalists. The range of the subjects covered is broad, from early 20th century pictures of the activities of the Warsaw Cycling Society, to portraits of the KOR and Solidarity leadership. The best represented, however are photographs showing everyday life in the Polish People’s Republic, Polish Armed Forces in the West and, perhaps most importantly ,the photographic evidence of the life of the Polish Gulag prisoners, as well as photos associated with the Katyn massacre. A separate, very interesting collection, are samizdat postcards produced during the explosion of the Solidarity movement and the martial law. One hopes that the cooperation of the archive with its sponsors continues and more of its unique collections become available electronically. To reach the archive use the URL: http://www.karta.org.pl/archiwa_i_bazy_danych/Archiwum_Fotografii/49

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