Underwood and Underwood

This digital history exhibit is meant to inform and showcase the Underwood and Underwood Photography Company. Underwood and Underwood was founded in 1882 by two brothers Elmer and Bert Underwood. Starting out as a stereoscopic photograph sales company located in Kansas, they quickly became the worldwide leader of stereographic images production and sales. Their success led to the company’s expansion into new markets and eventually transition into different types of photographic businesses. By the start of the twentieth century, Underwood and Underwood ventured into the growing domain that would later be called Photojournalism. Along with news images this company began collecting and taking photographs intended for use in advertisements, and eventually evolved into one of the earliest photo syndication agencies. 

Underwood and Underwood would continue as a news and wire photographic company until 1975. The company and its remaining collection of images located in their New York City offices was sold to George Rinhart. Mr. Rinhart kindly donated a large collection of prints to the University of Maryland Baltimore County Library in 1987.  

This digital exhibit is a small sample of this archive's collection. The images are a mixture of news, advertisements, and commercial stock photos, further organized based on their subjects and themes. Attached to the images are the original captions. For further information see the attached master’s thesis and/or contact the University of Maryland Baltimore County Special Collections Archive.

For anyone unfamiliar and interested in the proper method to utilize and evaluate historic photography, please consult: Edwards, Elizabeth. “Photography and the Material Performance of the Past.” History and Theory, Theme Issue 48. Wesleyan University. (December 2009). 130-150.  

To Browse the Exhibit, Click on the yellow "Underwood and Underwood" title link above. On the next page, you may browse the different categories of photographs, and each individual picture displayed in this digital exhibit by clicking on one of the seven tan titles in the black box on the right.


Phone: 410-455-2353 Email: speccoll@umbc.edu

Will attach a link to paper when finished. 


Jordan Ritchie, The University of Maryland Baltimore County Special Collections Archive.