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Online Historical Archive Surpasses 30,000,000 views

A modest 2002 grant started something that grew quite big. This month, librarians and volunteers are celebrating the 30,000,000th view of the Library’s online historical photo archive, located at

Library Administrator Anne Layton Rice wrote the federal grant to fund scanning equipment and training for library staff. “From day one, we’ve been scanning to Library of Congress archival standards and the image quality is captivating. We can see the medals on Civil War soldiers’ uniforms and read soup can labels on a 1900 bodega shelf.”

So captivating, over 30,000,000 archive images have been viewed since the library joined the online photo sharing site, Flickr, in 2006. “Through generous donations of historic images and the work of a dedicated tribe of volunteers, we’ve increased our collection to over 20,000 images, including some of the oldest images of South Florida,” says Florida Historian Tom Hambright. Hambright painstakingly captions each image. Archivist Breana Sowers assures that that historical artifacts are in good condition before handling.

A bequeath from the Margo Golan Trust and funding from the Key West Friends of the Library have expanded scanning and cataloging efforts. Seven scanners, from microfilm to broadsheet size, are in constant use and the Library was recently invited to submit its archival scans to the prestigious Digital Public Library of America.

Images from the collection have been published in Newsweek, The Smithsonian, The Guardian, and Nature as well as featured on Animal Planet, the BBC, Food Network, NPR, Travel Channel, and CNN. See them at

Photo caption: Blimp flies over St. Paul’s Church at 401 Duval Street, Key West on November 11, 1918 during a Victory Parade.


Florida History