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Archives at The Museum of Flight

World War I Stereographs

Identifier: 2016-00-00-5
The World War I Stereographs collection is a small collection consisting of eight stereographic photographs depicting World War I scenes. This is an artificial collection with materials aggregated from various sources.

Seven of the cards were produced by the Keystone View Company and one by Underwood & Underwood. The images feature trench scenes, war ruins, soldiers, steamships, and a blimp. The reverse of each stereograph includes a note on the historical context of the image, placing it within the narrative of the war.

Please note that some of the items in this collection contain images of wartime casualties.


  • circa 1914-1919

Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


0.02 Cubic Feet (1 legal size folder)


Stereoscopic photographs of scenes from World War I scenes.

Historical Note: Stereographs

Stereographs are double photographs printed side-by-side that create a single three-dimensional image when viewed through a stereoscope. The stereoscope allows the two photos to be viewed close enough to the viewer's eyes that the images appear to overlap and create the illusion of three-dimensional depth. The curved stereograph card mount, which added to the appearance of depth, was developed in the late 1870s by early stereoview producer B. W. Kilburn and the design quickly became the standard. The format developed along with the early days of photography, with hand-held stereoscopes and stereograph collections being manufactured in the second half of the 19th century.

Underwood & Underwood began in Kansas in 1882 and expanded rapidly, becoming the largest producer of stereographs by 1901. They popularized the concept of stereograph box sets (such as the World War I set) and created numerous subject-based "stereographic libraries." The Keystone View Company was started in 1892 in Pennsylvania and experienced similarly rapid expansion as Underwood. Keystone pursued the box set model as well, but distinguished itself as a developer of educational sets. Ultimately, Keystone survived the closure of other stereograph producers, absorbing their images and rights, and becoming the only remaining major stereograph publisher in the world by 1920.

These two major companies were the primary producers of image sets for the Great War. Underwood photographers produced images of the first few years of the war in Europe (primarily England, Belgium, and Germany), with some pre-entry mobilization in the United States. However, by wartime Underwood & Underwood was constricting and their production became increasingly limited. Keystone's photographer was delayed by permissions until the end of the war, and was only able to produce the majority of his images in 1919. Both companies released sets, with Keystone re-releasing sets including both company's images after they absorbed Underwood & Underwood in 1920-1922. The numerous versions of the World War I set from Keystone were by far the most popular of any of the war stereograph sets, with production continuing all the way to 1935. A large number of the early European views acquired from Underwood were never published by Keystone, due to the fact that their market was largely American. As such their sets featured images largely taken after the U.S. entry in the war and/or of battle locations which were known to American audiences.


William C. Darrah. The World of Stereographs. William C. Darrah : Gettysburg, Penn., 1977.


Additional materials may be added to the collection.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Related Archival Materials

Mark Winters Stereograph Collection. Forty-eight (48) stereographs and accompanying viewer, with images related to the European theater during World War I.

The Jim Bergstrom Collection of World War I Aviation Stereographs. Five (5) stereograph images of World War I scenes printed by the Keystone View Company.
Guide to the World War I Stereographs
Completed - Level 4
A. Demeter, N. Davis
2017; 2024
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging and digitization of this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant.
Edition statement
2nd Edition

Revision Statements

  • 2018 November : Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2024 May: Added 1 item.

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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