Creator: Wellesley College
Title: Lantern Slide Collection
Dates: ca. 1903- Dec. 9, 1978 (last accessioned lantern slide)
Extent: 31/4 x 4 Lantern Slide, Feet ?, Approximately 16,000 Items


The collection consists of 16,000 glass lantern slides of Art and Architecture collected by Wellesley College for the aid in teaching. The original collection is presumed larger than indicated by the accession books. Through time several lantern slides had been deaccessioned and their where abouts unknown. It has been known that the use of Lantern Slides began before 1903. A handwritten list of the slides describes each slide accessioned into the collection. Each slide is physically labeled. The slides were used for lectures in Art History & Architecture.

Language of materials: English

Repository: Wellesley College Slide Library Collection

Collection number:

Collection Overview

The Wellesley College Lantern Slide collection is a diverse collection of art, art history, and architecture glass 3 ΒΌ x 4 slides used in the aid of teaching. The collection began prior to 1903. 1903 is currently the oldest accession book of slides that documents their existence. The lantern slides were actively collected for the teaching of classes at Wellesley College till approximately 1967. After 1967 the format changed to 2 x 2 film positive slides. Glass lantern slides were accessioned into the collection as late as December 1978. The change in technology from glass slide to the 2 x 2 slide caused the lantern slide to go into obsolescence. Although the Lantern Slide Collection has gone into obsolescence the collection has become an artifact of importance. The architectural images capture a period in time that has gone past. The physical representation of buildings through the captured image are a great resource for what buildings have been destroyed by war, harmed by natural disaster, or simply altered by time.

Scope and Content

The Wellesley College Lantern Slide Collection consists of approximately 16,000 glass slides. The slides contain visual information that is accessible by the use of a light table, or projector. The lantern slide projector has become obsolete, but due to the fact that the image is a positive it can be easily seen by holding up to a lighted source. The visual information portrayed on the glass slides consist of pieces of art and architecture for the aid of teaching art history.
Among the many unique slides found in the collection are Modern Art slides. Wellesley College was progressive in its day of teaching Modern Art before most college art history departments did so. Thus making the slide collection enriched with a greater representation of art styles through time. The collection contains not only black and white glass slides but also color slides.

Historical Note


Wellesley College lantern slide have been been arranged in order of discipline: Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting. Then within the discipline category there are several pertaining sub categories to the discipline. The slides are also arranged by origin ex: Italy Painting, Italy Sculpture, and Italy Architecture. The collection is predominately Black and White positive images. To the exception there are color slides in the collection. These slide are interfiled amongst the whole collection. The color slides were taken by Wellesley Professor John McAndrews.

Administrative Information

Search Terms

Library Congress Subject Headings
  • Lantern Slides -- Catalogs.