We have outstanding collections illustrating the development of photography. The earliest material, dating from the 1840s, includes original calotype negatives and salted paper prints produced by the partnership of renowned Scottish photographers, D O Hill and Robert Adamson.

We are a member of Photography Scotland.

Below are links to relevant collections and to digitised material available online.

Our major collections of photographs are:

  • Ashton: a collection of over 3000 glass lantern slides featuring architecture and scenes of everyday life, 1890-1925
  • Bruce: over 1200 stereoscopic glass photographic negatives made by William Speirs Bruce (1867-1921) on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions between 1899 and 1914
  • Dougan: includes work by photographic pioneers Hill & Adamson, early professionals Robert Macpherson and Samuel Bourne and interesting examples by amateurs. Over 200 bound volumes and albums, 1840s to early 20th century.
  • Photo A, Photo B and Photo D are general collections of photographs and Photo C is a general collection of glass slides, all acquired from various sources. Locate these by using the rare books search (shelf mark option eg Sp Coll Photo A) and the manuscripts document search (call number eg Photo B or select Photograph as the Document Type).
  • The Carragher Collection comprises prints, primarily of the Gorbals area of Glasgow in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • See also MS Gen 941: a mid-19th century notebook containing notes on photography including 'Calotype process' etc.
  • Our original photographs are complemented by a collection of reference material shelved at Sp Coll Photo Ref. Locate these via the rare books search (shelf mark option).

Digitised photographic material available online:


  • Hill and Adamson: 1840s, negatives and salt prints produced by renowned Scottish partnership - image database searchable by keyword, subject and location
  • Dougan 105: 1850s, salt prints and waxed paper negatives of Egypt and France - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 106: 1852-1899, mainly scenes in Italy, some in France - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 108: 1856-1875, England (mainly north-east) - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 96: c 1860-1870, photographs of South Asia - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan Add. 141: 1860-1870, Glasgow Photographic Association album - images available in flickr set.
  • Dougan 101 and Dougan 102: c 1862–c 1871, mainly Amateur Photographic Association images taken in Britain - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 103 and Dougan 104: 1870s, mainly Australia (particularly New South Wales) – image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 91: 1880-1890s, mainly Scotland and north-east England - image linked to each item record
  • Dougan 86: 1890s, East Asia (mainly Japan and China) - image linked to each item record
  • James Paterson Museum Archive: includes photographs of paintings by the artist James Paterson (1854-1932), as well as albums of family life and friends - image linked to each item record
  • Whistler Archive: includes photographs of the artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), his family and friends and some of his paintings - image linked to each item record

The following web exhibitions also feature material relating to photography:

 Find out more about our participation in Blueprint 2013.

Access to photographic material


Please note that access to original photographic material is strictly by appointment only and requires advance (a minimum of 24 hours) notice. Please contact the Special Collections Reading Room: 0141 330 6767 or