Access Policy

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The historical photographs collection is available for viewing by the public in the library during open hours, Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 to 4:30.  Researchers can view the original photographs or can see the most requested collections on the Digital Viewing Station in the library.  Among the favorites on the Viewing Station are entire photograph albums featuring views of Chester County architecture, covered bridges, railroads and the natural environment.

For online visitors, a sampling of historical photographs can be viewed with their descriptive records on CCHS’ PastPerfect database.  When searching on PastPerfect, chose the Advanced Search tab and check off both photos and library sections to search. The majority of the Photo Archives records are in the library section of the catalog.

 An appointment with the photo archivist is necessary if you wish to view original fragile media such as daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, glass plate negatives, glass stereographs, lantern slides, photo jewelry, opalotypes or other items requiring special equipment or handling.  Please contact the Photo Archivist at to set up an appointment.

The CCHS Reproduction Service can make digital or print reproductions of historical photographs in the collection for patron use.  See the Rights and Reproductions page for policy and fee schedule.  Patrons are welcome to make photocopies of photographs for study purposes, as long as they are not too fragile for copying. Photographs may not be scanned or photographed by patrons with phones, cameras, tablets or hand-held scanners.


Fair Use Statement
WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyright material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted works. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” the user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept an order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. The granting of permission to publish by the Society does not absolve users of materials from securing permission from copyright owners and payment of such additional fees as the owners may require if the Society does not own copyright or if the material is not in the public domain. Applicants assume all responsibility for questions of copyright and invasion of privacy that may arise in copying and in the use of the photographic copy.