The Kodak historical collection

Printing Kodak negatives by sunlight
Unknown Photographer, Printing Kodak negatives by sunlight, Building 2, Harrow, 1891. Toned silver gelatin print. Kodak Historical Collection A1787.

The archive, transferred from Kodak Ltd to the British Library in 2009, represents a major resource for the study of the technical, commercial and cultural development of photography from the late 19th century

About the collection

The collection as a whole reflects the growth of photography as an affordable and democratic medium available to all and principally covers the period 1885-1990. There is also some later material, particularly relating to Kodak research, up to 2007. The majority of the archive is concerned mainly with Kodak Ltd and its predecessor companies, but there are also files and documents from the Eastman Kodak Company, Kodak (Australasia) Pty., Kodak A.G., Kodak-Pathé, Kodak (India) and other UK companies controlled by Kodak Ltd. The archive covers a broad range of company activities, including research, advertising, marketing, manufacture and production, wartime activity, staff and social activities. There is also a rich collection of both specialist and amateur trade and product catalogues.

In addition to papers and publications, photographic material from the 1890s onwards is present throughout the collection. This includes documentation of Kodak shops and factories (both in the United Kingdom and abroad), technical and manufacturing processes, portraits of Kodak employees and advertising photographs.

What is available online?

Collection content can be found in the Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

Material from the Kodak Historical Collection can be ordered for study in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.

Further information

Reference works for this collection, include:

The story of Kodak, by Douglas Collins (New York, 1990)

George Eastman: a biography (Baltimore and London, 1996)

A history of Kodak Ltd, by Margaret D. Gauntlett (typescript, 1978)