Contents and Arrangement

Glass Plate Negatives Depicting an African American Community at Nicodemus, Kansas, circa 1877-1890

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of eight glass plate negatives taken by an unknown photographer, documenting an African American community in the Great Plains or Semi-Arid West, which is likely Nicodemus, Kansas, a town in Graham County in northwestern Kansas founded by formerly enslaved people in 1877. The images depict African American people living on the Great Plains during the Reconstruction Era. Most shots show subjects posed in front of modest frame structures, including what appears to be a church or school building and a commercial structure. The landscape is clearly arid and flat, with occasional stands of deciduous trees visible in the background. The dwellings all appear to be of very recent construction at the time the images were made, with several showing saplings of recently-planted trees.


Arranged alphabetically by the name of the creator or by the date of acquisition.

Collection History


AM 2021-3

Purchased from Lorne Bair Rare Books in 2020 .


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lisa Yankowitz during the summer and fall of 2010 . The finding aid was written by Lisa Yankowitz in January 2011 and was regularly updated with new acquisitions by Faith Charlton, Kelly Bolding, Armando Suárez, Amy C. Vo, Kalliopi Balatsouka, and Lauren Williams.

Collection-level notes were revised by Faith Charlton in 2024 to more accurately describe the nature of this collection.

No additions will be made to this collection. Single item acquisitions will be added to Princeton University Library Single Item Acquisitions (C1771).

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Glass Plate Negatives Depicting an African American Community at Nicodemus, Kansas; General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection, C0140, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 62

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Parts of this collection are available on microfilm, cataloged separately as RCPXM-7497696.

Subject Terms:
African Americans -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Genre Terms:
Glass plate negatives -- 19th century.
Nicodemus (Kan.).
West (U.S.) -- Description and travel.