At a Glance


See the U.S. grow before your eyes with this collection depicting two centuries of urbanization.

National Archives and Records Administration

Pictures of the American City

This online archive of 170 photographs, selected from the National Archives and Records Administration collection, depicts the development of the American city from the early 19th century to the present. The photographs represent a wide range of urban subjects and original media; some images are photographic copies of paintings, engravings, and imprints, as well as photographs. The images are exceptional, and are grouped into six categories: Artists' Conceptions of 19th Century Cities; Skylines and Streets; City Life; Urban Transportation; The City in Turmoil; and 20th Century Art Reflecting Urban Themes. The finding aid offers a roughly 25-word caption for each item, including the photograph's title, medium, repository, artist, and date. Though the site is somewhat difficult to navigate, it is worth a visit for those interested in images depicting America's urban history.