MIT Libraries logo MIT Libraries

MIT logo

Visual collections

MIT Libraries holds a number of unique visual collection materials for use in research, teaching, learning and other creative or scholarly engagements. The collections focus on a wide range of subject areas and topics, including art, architecture, urban studies, regional and city planning, anthropology, archaeology, and media studies.

Collection highlights include:

Artists’ books

Errantry unfurled - Artist book

Werner Pfeiffer, Errantry. Distinctive Collections, MIT Libraries.

The Libraries’ collection focuses on artists’ books published from the 20th century through the present, and is deliberately interdisciplinary, reflecting the interests and mission of the Institute. The collection explores key areas such as the technology of the printed book; the connection between research and making; the ways in which art and science inform and influence one another; and the relationship between digital and analog technologies. The collection also focused in on experimental bookmaking, printmaking, graphic design, technology, and contemporary print culture.

Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection

The Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation Collection contains artwork, documents, and ephemera donated to MIT by the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation in 2008. Collection artwork consists of stained glass windows, paintings, designs, cartoons, and sketches.

The collection also contains correspondence, financial records, personal and professional writings, film, lecture transcripts, slides, photographs, collected articles and research for windows, church bulletins, collected periodicals, tools, editions of Connick’s 1937 book Adventures in Light and Color, ephemera from both the studio and the foundation, and personal items from Connick and his staff.

Kidder Smith Collection of American Architecture

The Kidder Smith Collection contains 3,400 color images surveying American architecture from pre-colonial to the 1970’s. The images extensively document architectural history and design, urban history with a special emphasis on the Boston area, landscape architecture, urban planning, archaeology, photography, fine and applied art and media.

Also in this collection are Archivision’s 60,000 images of architecture, archaeological sites, gardens, parks and works of art with broad appeal in humanities teaching.

Perceptual Form of the City Project

The Perceptual Form of the City, a seminal research project conducted by MIT Professors Kevin Lynch and Gygory Kepes, 1954-1959, addressed the legibility and imageability of the American city. The collection includes photographs and records from the Boston phase of the project. The nearly 2,000 black & white photographs, shot by Nishan Bichajian, assistant to Professor Kepes, document the Boston urban environment during the mid-1950s prior to urban renewal.

Tarot card collection

Tarot card collection. Distinctive Collections, MIT Libraries.

Independent Tarot Collection

This new Tarot collection focuses on contemporary artist-made and independently produced tarot decks with a particular interest in radical, feminist, queer, POC, and spiritually and religiously diverse revisions to the traditional tarot narratives and archetypes. Many decks are limited print run editions and serve also to document the rise of print on demand services and crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indie Go-Go. The collection includes more than 400 decks and continues to grow.

For other image resources at MIT Libraries see the Finding Images Guide.