Obtaining Digital Images - A step-by-step guide

The American Antiquarian Society offers a variety of reproduction services as an aid to scholarly and general research, in accordance with its mission to provide access to our outstanding collections of rare printed books, newspapers, manuscripts and graphics while preserving them for the use of future generations.

We seek to provide the highest quality archival digital images to our customers. This means that every aspect of the original item (colors and details but also existing stains, folds, foxing, and tears) will be present in digital images. We will not manipulate items in a way that could cause damage nor will we provide conservation treatments in order to complete a digital photography request.

Freely Available Images Online

The Society makes available, without charge, all of our existing medium resolution (up to 72 dpi) digital images that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose under the terms of a Creative Commons License. No permission is required* though attribution is required. The Society's preferred credit line for all uses is, "Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society."

Ordering Images


Always begin your search by exploring our General Catalog and our website, which includes our digital projects, exhibitions and illustrated inventories. For many items that are already digitized, you will find links in the General Catalog to our digital image archive, GIGI. You may also browse and do limited searching within the GIGI system.

The video tutorial finding digital surrogates provides a quick overview of how to find materials in the American Antiquarian Society catalog that have digital surrogates.

 You may freely download and use any of these images for your own research, for teaching and presentations, or for non-commercial projects.  There is no fee for this service; the Society's preferred credit line for all uses is:

"Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society"

We strongly recommend that high-resolution images be used in print publications (See #3 below).



If you cannot find the material you need, please contact reproductions@mwa.org for assistance. We are happy to help with quick requests, but those requiring extensive research on the part of the AAS may incur a research fee, which must be authorized in advance.



To request a high-resolution image (maximum 300 dpi tiff files provided)**, please complete an Image Request Form indicating your intended use of the image(s). The Image Request Form must be completed in full and can be submitted electronically, by email, fax, or postal mail. For all high-resolution images, the Society charges a processing fee (per order) and, when new photography/scanning is required, a shot fee (per image). The processing fee is higher when the intended use of the image(s) is for a commercial enterprise (textbook, trade book, popular magazine, advertising, merchandise, etc.). All fees will be quoted and must be paid in advance.

$15 for a pdf $1.00
$25 for a non-commercial order from existing photography Each additional image $5.00
$40 for a non-commercial order requiring new photography Each additional image $5.00
$125 for a commercial order from existing photography Each additional image $10.00
$150 for a commercial order requiring new photography Each additional image $10.00
A RUSH order will double all normal fees.
Research fee, when required $40/hour
We are unable to make pdfs of items larger than 11x17, so we require that you order a high-res scan on large format items.

If you would like to request a low-res jpeg for non-publication purposes, a scanning fee will have to be negotiated.


Helpful Hint: Whenever possible please include the “Catalog Record” number found in each General Catalog entry; this will expedite your request. Here, circled in yellow, is the Catalog Record number as it appears in a sample general catalog record:

Quoting from collections

Permission is not needed to quote from out-of copyright printed materials in the Society's collections although acknowledgement of the use of such materials is appreciated.
Requesting Permission to Quote from Manuscripts

Please contact us and let us know how we may help you!

American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Email: reproductions@mwa.org
Telephone: (508) 755-5221 x171
Fax: (508) 754-9069 

*If you have concerns or questions about copyright, please review the very helpful summary compiled by the Cornell University Copyright Information Center.

**The camera is a Canon EOS-1DX and the lens for photography is a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art Lens.

Image above: Original Groups. 31. Seeking to penetrate the mysteries of photography. Stereocard collection. Box 321.

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