I think I mentioned that while growing up we had an old stereographic viewer and collection of stereograph cards as seen above. I used to love playing with it, and it seemed like we had quite the collection. While I was still on this 3D kick I decided to check to see if there were other collections online besides the one I found at the University of South Carolina Library. It turns out that there are an AMAZING number of images available online, if you know where to look.
The first thing I did was just a simple Google Image Search for the term “stereograph.” That turned up lots of interesting hits, and some potential sources for more images. It looked like a good many of these led back to the Library of Congress, and that’s where I hit paydirt.
My first search on the Library of Congress’s site led me to the Robert N. Dennis Collection, now housed at the New York Public Library. The stereographic images in the University of South Carolina’s online collection are from this collection. Dennis was not a photographer, but a collector, and he amassed a huge collection of these image cards. Many of these depict life in small-town America, but the collection itself spans the US and includes some European shots. Dennis donated these to the library in two batches, first in the 1930’s and later in the 1950’s. The collection consists of about 72,000 stereograph cards, of which a little over 12,000 have since been digitized and placed online.
The online Dennis Collection can be browsed by state, so I was curious to see what was available for South Carolina in addition to those I had already seen. I was surprised to see that there were several images of Greenville, including one for Reedy Falls and one of the old Furman campus and Belltower.