At a Glance


An assemblage of more than 80 photographs and postcards of lynchings, from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

James Allen, Collector

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America

James Allen has assembled a collection of chilling photographs of lynchings throughout America, primarily from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many were circulated as souvenir postcards. The site is a companion to Allen's book Without Sanctuary. The exhibit can be experienced through a flash movie with narrative comments by Allen or as a gallery of more than 80 photographs with brief captions. Most images also have links to more extensive descriptions of the circumstances behind each specific act of violence.

While the vast majority of lynching victims were African Americans, white victims are also depicted. Individually and as a group, these images are disturbing and difficult to fathom. They provide, however, an excellent resource for approaching the virulence and impact of racism in late 19th and 20th-century America.