The W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library houses a growing and diverse collection of historic and contemporary photographs occupying approximately 150 linear feet. Included are photographs of individuals, structures, and scenes from around Alabama, as well as of people, buildings, and events at The University of Alabama. The earliest photographic image of the University dates to 1859. The Hoole Library is home to an impressive collection of photographs of nearly every format and type including salted paper print; matte collodion; daguerreotype; tintype; cyanotypes; ambrotype; and albumen.
The Wade Hall Photography Collection, a continuing gift of Union Springs, Alabama native Dr. Wade Hall, is a truly international collection, and provides a unique view of American life and experiences around the world, including Europe, South and Central America, Asia, the South Pacific, North Africa, and the Middle East. The collection of more than 24,000 images includes photographs taken by families on vacation trips in both the 19th and 20thcenturies, portraits of floods, fires, and other catastrophes. The collection comprises a broad scope of subject matter ranging from images of farm life in rural America to images of historic events and locations, including the American liberation of a Nazi concentration camp and the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Photographs of African-Americans make up a significant part of the collection. The collection contains examples of almost every type of popular 19th and 20th century photographic process.
The Roland Harper photographs consist of more than 8,700 images, primarily view of plants and their environs taken over a fifty-year period. Though most of the photographs were taken in Alabama, many were taken in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, and some in other states.
As part of the University Archives, photographs from The University of Alabama are a significant component of our collections. These include a vast collection relating to the history of The University of Alabama and members of the university community as well as historic photographs of the city of the Tuscaloosa area. Other important collections include a group of photographs of Alabama steamboat and river traffic, and glass plate negatives by the Alabama Geological Survey.