Global History and Geography
Photographic images held in the New York State Archives' collections in Albany show people and places as they appeared in the early twentieth century. The descriptions of the images are contemporary to that period.
Practices, meanings, and perceptions change over time, and those of only a few generations ago may reflect biases and assumptions no longer accepted. Explore these changes while viewing scenes of people and places which, in many cases, no longer exist.
Places to Visit
History of the Glass Lantern Slides
The New York State Archives holds an outstanding collection of over 29,000 glass lantern slides that provide an historic and culturally rich glimpse of life around the world from 1911-1939. A glass lantern slide is a positive photographic transparency sandwiched between two 3¼" by 4" glass plates. The slides were projected onto a screen by means of a projector called a "Magic Lantern."
This collection of photographic images documents one of the earliest uses of audio-visual techniques for classroom instruction. Thousands of lantern slides were produced by the New York State Education Department's Division of Visual Instruction.
Sets of the slides were loaned to schools throughout the State from 1856-1939 (Many of the pre-1911 slides were destroyed in the State Capitol fire of 1911). This collection includes numerous rare and unique images.
The images on this Web Site have been scanned directly from the original glass slides. The descriptive text is transcribed from the margins of the slides, original teacher's study guides, or other publications of the Division of Visual Instruction. Original glass lantern slides and related documents can be found in the New York State Archives in Albany, New York.
The New York State Archives is providing this on-line exhibition of historical instructional slides as a contribution to education and scholarship. These documents are public records and you are free to use them. If you use any of the images or text, please credit the New York State Archives. Reminder: All images and descriptions of images are contemporary to the early twentieth century.
New York State Learning Standards
The historic images presented on this web site correspond to topics currently studied in New York State 6th grade social studies and 9th and 10th grade global history. The topics relate to the New York State Learning Standards two and three, World History and Geography. Additional social studies curriculum resources are available from the New York State Education Department's Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment program office.