Photography Collections

The Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible online.

Photography Collections

The Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible online.

Photography Collections

The Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible online.

Photography Collection

The Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible online.

Photography Collections

New Bedford has a rich photographic heritage. The medium’s arrival corresponds with the city’s age of prosperity. 

Subject areas of strength include; historic whaling, the waterfront, waterfront trades, regional watercraft, fishing, yachting, regional architecture, industry, emigration, portraiture, Arctic and ethnographic documentation. The Museum actively collects both historic and contemporary photography. Appointments to see works not on exhibition can be made using photoresearch@whalingmuseum.org.

The Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible through the online catalog.

Photographic Collections

A New Bedford Whaler in Africa

Albert Cook Church

From Fishermen's Race-deck scenes to Palmer's Lighthouse in 1935, sailing, fishing vessels, and photos of an early 20th century working waterfront, Albert Cook Church's imagery will take you back in time.

Arctic Regions, William Bradford

William Bradford's (1823-1892) "Arctic Regions" was published in London in 1873, principally sponsored by Queen Victoria. An estimated 300 volumes were printed. Three are owned locally, one here at the New Bedford Whaling Museum one belonging to the Millicent Library in Fairhaven, and one at the New Bedford Free Public Library.

Azores: Dabney Albums

This set of photographs represents a sampling from three Dabney family albums generously donated to the museum in 2004. The images, taken throughout the Azores, date from the last quarter of the 19th century.

Bradford Recitals

Bourne Building Portraits

Portraits of Captain and Mrs. Charles Chase, Captain Sylvanus T. Potter, Captain Manuel Gomes, Captain Philip Cruiz, a foremast hand, and other unnamed waterfront workers taken by Pardon B. Gifford.

Following Fish

Photographs by Phillip Mello. The New Bedford Whaling Museum celebrates the people who continue to make their living from the sea. This tradition faces many challenges. Over time, the fishing industry’s impact on people locally and around the world is not without controversy. This exhibition will highlight the economic and environmental concerns as well as personal stories of the New Bedford fishing industry.

Genius at his Trade

This set of Norman Fortier images represent what is available to donors to this book project in appreciation for their support.

Historic Waterfront

Photographs featuring scenes from the waterfront by Clement Nye, Edmund Davis Ashley, Clifford W. Ashley, William H. Tripp, Clifford Baylies, Albert Cook Church, among others.

Morse Twist Drill and Machine Co.

Stephen Ambrose Morse invented the “Morse Patent Straight-Lip Increase Twist Drill” in 1861 and patented it in 1863. In 1864 he found interested investors in New Bedford, and a company was organized and funded with $30,000 in capital stock.

New Bedford Cordage Company

Sixteen photographs of New Bedford Cordage Company products, machinery, operations and employees, ca. 1880-1958. Founded in 1842 by Joseph Ricketson, Benjamin S. Rotch, and William J. Rotch, the firm initially produced rope used on whaling and clipper ships.

Norman Fortier

Norman Fortier has used his camera – his “storied lens” – to record the social and industrial history of a region. Through this exhibition, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which acquired the Fortier Collection of more than 100,000 images in 2004, pays tribute to a gifted photographer and his extraordinary eye.

Pearce Collection

The "Blue Blood Bicycle Club," Orchard and Arnold Streets; Nurses at St. Luke's Hospital, Views of Fort Tabor at Fort Rodman, a Fourth of July Parade in 1887, historic images of local people and scenes from the Pearce Collection.

Photographs of Houses and Public Buildings in New Bedford, Fairhaven, Acushnet, Dartmouth and Westport, Fred Palmer

This unpublished volume, donated to the Society in 1907 by Herbert and Anna Cushman, contains photographs by Fred W. Palmer.

Prescott Collection

The Prescott Collection, named for its primary creator Dr. Henry D. Prescott, and for his wife, Hester Swift Prescott, consists of an estimated 1,300 negatives and 188 photographic albums holding over 8,500 photographs. The vast majority of the photographs are of everyday life in his home towns of New Bedford and South Dartmouth, beginning in 1892 and continuing until his death in 1945.

R. Swain Gifford

Standard Times Collection: Newspaper Photography

Working Waterfront, Phil Mello

Working Waterfront, Michael Cevoli

Finding Aids

Aldrich Collection

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Aldrich Collection of photographs consists of 258 images captured by journalist Herbert L. Aldrich (1860-1948) during the 1887 Arctic whaling season. Aldrich spent time on eight New Bedford whaling vessels between March and October of 1887, documenting the whaling industry and the native peoples of the Arctic.

Bodfish Collection

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Bodfish Collection consists of 111 photographs taken by master whaler Hartson H. Bodfish (ca. 1862-1945) during his time aboard the Beluga as captain and later the Mary D. Hume as first mate. During the long stretches of voyaging in the Arctic, Bodfish took many photographs documenting life aboard these ships and on the icy tundra as well as demonstrating the whale craft and hunting that took place.

Comer Collection

The Comer Collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum consists of approximately 200 photographs taken by Captain George Comer (1858-1937) during whaling voyages to the Hudson Bay between 1900 and 1905. The majority of the photographs document Aivilingmiut and Qaernermiut Eskimos and Eskimo culture; other subjects include the whaling schooner Era and her crew, whale processing, and the flora and fauna of the Hudson Bay.

Jarvis Collection

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Jarvis Collection consists of 127 photographs related to the life and career of David Henry Jarvis (1852-1911). Jarvis likely took the majority of the photos while serving in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service in Alaska and the Bering Sea. The photos show the Revenue Cutter Bear, on which Jarvis served as a lieutenant and captain, whaleships the Bear encountered while in the Arctic, scenes of native peoples, landscapes, and documentation of the famous 1897-1898 rescue of eight whaleships.

Kennedy Collection

The Kennedy Collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum consists of approximately 150 photographs compiled, and primarily taken, by Charles D. Kennedy in 1886 while serving aboard the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear in the Arctic. Photograph subjects include the Bear and her crew, Alaskan landscapes, Eskimos and Eskimo settlements, and vessels encountered by the Bear.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum has approximately 200,000 photographic and digital objects in the Adaline H. Perkins Rand Photographic Archives. Of these approximately 28,000 are accessible through the online catalog. To search click the button below to access the Museum's Photography Archive. Click "Search." Enter the collection name or other keyword in the "Word Search," refine your selection as desired, and/or click "Search."