Robert Langmuir African American photograph collection, circa 1840-2000

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Langmuir, Robert, collector.
Title: Robert Langmuir African American photograph collection, circa 1840-2000
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1218
Extent: 66 linear feet (97 boxes), 24 oversized papers boxes and 2 oversize papers folders (OP), 3 extra oversized papers (XOP), 15 bound volumes (BV), and 3 oversized bound volumes (OBV), and AV Masters: .25 linear feet (1 box and CLP4)
Abstract:Collection of photographs depicting African American life and culture collected by Robert Langmuir.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: Printed or manuscript music in this collection that is still under copyright protection and is not in the Public Domain may not be photocopied or photographed. Researchers must provide written authorization from the copyright holder to request copies of these materials.

Additional Physical Form

The majority of this collection is available digitally to researchers in the Emory Digital Collections repository. Users with an Emory University network id should log in to view additional images unavailable to the general public.


Purchase, 2012 with subsequent additions.


[after identification of item(s)], Robert Langmuir African American photograph collection, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Arrangement and Description Unit, August 2013.

Series 4: Additions arranged and described at the item level by Sarah Quigley, March and September 2017 and following. The photographs in Series 4 are arranged and described differently than the photographs in Series 1. The same organizational structure and descriptive categories apply, but the photographs in Series 4 have been described individually. Some new categories have been added. Any associated biographical or manuscript material is included with the photograph and has not been separated and described separately. Original dealer descriptions have been included when possible. Most, but not all, of the photographs have been sleeved. They are not digitized. Beginning in 2022 additions arranged and described by Rebecca Sherman.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Robert Langmuir is a rare book dealer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Langmuir is a private collector whose interest in black life and culture began with his African-American childhood caretaker. Langmuir began collecting the manuscripts and art of black writers and artists twenty years ago. He assembled the collection through antique book shows, auctions, and networking.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mainly of photographs depicting African American life and culture from the late 1880s to the 1970s. Photographs are in a variety of formats including tintypes, daguerreotypes, cabinet cards, stereo views, panoramas, photographic postcards. In addition, the collection includes several photograph albums. A number of photographs in the collection were taken by African American photographers.

The collection also includes materials relating directly to specific Langmuir photographs or materials that Langmuir collected in the course of acquiring photographs for the Langmuir collection. These materials include printed material, documents, biographical sketches, and some audiovisual material.

Arrangement Note

Organized into four series: (1) Photographs, (2) Related and collected material, (3) Photograph albums/Scrapbooks, and (4) Additions.

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