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Robert B. Fisher photograph collection and papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-2823

Scope and Contents

This collection chiefly consists of photographs collected by Robert B. Fisher, but also includes his subject files and a small quantity of writings related to the history of photography, 1840-1998.

Photographs in the collection include cased photographs, stereographs, glass transparencies, and lantern slides. The collection includes a particularly rich variety of stereograph formats, including daguerreotype stereographs, ambrotype stereographs, tintype stereographs, glass stereographs, salted paper print stereographs, tissue stereographs, and card stereographs. The collection also provides visual documentation of the Niagara Falls region and the Great Britain during the middle of the nineteenth century. Photographers and stereograph publishers with significant quantities of photographic material in the collection include Edward Anthony, Platt Delascus Babbitt, Bierstadt Brothers, Keystone View Company, Langenheim Brothers, London Stereoscopic Company, New York Stereoscopic Company, and Underwood & Underwood.

Printed material in the collection includes illustrated articles, tear sheets, and prints with illustrations primarily published during the nineteenth century that Fisher compiled principally as resources for identifying photographic images.

Papers in the collection relate mainly to Fisher's photographic collection and the history of photography, as well as drafts of his articles in the Journal of the West and Daguerreian Annual.


  • 1840-1998


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Materials in Box 34 (computer disks): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Robert Burns Fisher Photograph and Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Peter E. Palmquist, 2003.


Organized into six series: I. Cased Photographs, 1840-circa 1860. II. Stereographs, 1850-1975. III. Glass Transparencies and Lantern Slides, circa 1850-circa 1921. IV. Copy Photographs, circa 1980-circa 1997. V. Printed Material, 1842-1932. VI. Papers, 1977-1998.

Associated Materials

Robert B. Fisher Collection of Views of Europe (94.R.30). The Getty Research Institute.

Dr. Robert B. Fisher Collection. Museum of Local History, Fremont, California.


26 Linear Feet ((39 boxes) + 1 broadside folder)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


This collection chiefly consists of photographs collected by Robert B. Fisher, but also includes his subject files and a small quantity of writings related to the history of photography, 1840-1998.

Robert B. Fisher (1919-2004)

In 1950, Robert Burns Fisher moved to Washington Township, California, and established a medical practice in San Jose. Fisher was keenly interested in local history, especially pioneer families who settled the area. He researched and sought the preservation of historic resources in Southern Alameda County. In 1962, he founded Mission Peak Heritage Foundation in Fremont, California. Fisher was an expert on European photography and a collector photographs, as well as a contributor of articles on the history of photography to the Journal of the West and Daguerreian Annual.

Custodial History

The Robert B. Fisher Photograph Collection and Papers were acquired by Peter E. Palmquist from Fisher, probably in 2002.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

Former call number: Uncat MSS 518

Guide to the Robert B. Fisher Photograph Collection and Papers WA MSS S-2823
by Matthew Daniel Mason
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.