Seeing The World In Stereo


I came across these very amusing stereographs recently on

They are from the Boston Public Library’s extensive photography collection. You can see more examples here.

The Boston Public Library Print Department has several thousand more in their collection. Here is the background information from the Boston Public Library’s listing on

The Boston Public Library Print Department holds nearly 5,700 stereographs, the majority of them are regional views of America, with emphasis on Boston and New England. The collection, comprised of several donations, also includes international views, comic series, and stereographs for testing stereo depth perception.

The nearly 650 Boston stereographs in this set record the built environment and events from the 1850s to the first decades of the 20th century. Among the topographic and scenic views are panoramas of the city, the Great Fire of Boston (1872), the American Peace Jubilee and Music Festival (1869), and people participating in events of the day.

First produced as entertainment devices, the stereographs are reference tools for depicting buildings no longer extant; changes to Boston Harbor; modes of costume and entertainment of the era; and the importance of the Boston Common and Public Garden in enriching the lives of its citizens.

The facts:
For more information please contact:
Print Department
McKim Building, 3rd Floor
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
617-859-2280 or 617-536-5400