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Art, Artifacts & Photography
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[Photography] [Man with bow, anonymous]

The Kinsey Institute photography collection contains more than 80,000 prints and negatives dating from the 1850s to the present. Most of these photographs were produced in the United States, Europe (Britain, France, Germany, Italy), and Asia (Japan, China). The collection is a valuable resource for students in Indiana University's School of Fine Arts as well as for scholars from around the world.

Featured Collections

Within the Institute's holdings are several important special collections:

  • The second largest collection of original vintage gelatin silver prints and negatives by George Platt Lynes (1907-1955), the American photographer of fashion, dance, portraiture, and the nude figure;
  • 250 original prints by Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931), known as the first photographer of the male nude;
  • Approximately 1522 turn-of-the-century French postcards and British actress cards, as well as 300 stereocards;
  • Thousands of photographs and negatives representing the work of William Dellenback, the Institute's staff photographer, documenting the visual history of the Institute

Fine Art Photography

The collection contains representative works of numerous fine art photographers, including Irving Penn, Arnold Newman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jerry Uelsmann, Herb Ritts, Ralph Gibson, Clarence J. Laughlin, Naomi Harris, Barbara Nitke, Mariette Pathy Allen, Al Urban, Judy Dater, Rick Castro, Laura Aguilar, Len Prince, Dianora Niccolini, Sam Wang, and Joel-Peter Witkin.

Documentary Photography Collection

The bulk of the collection contains photographs both by anonymous and named photographers and studios, as well as by amateur photographers, that serve to document artistic and popular representations of the human body and of variant sexual behaviors.

The 47,842 cataloged photographs in the documentary photograph collection are arranged categorically by model position or sexual act and then by chronology. There are an equal number of uncataloged photographs.


Within the Documentary Photography Collection, there are 46 categories that provide the foundation for the many variations of an act or a theme.


pre-1900                        2009        4.2%
1901-1925                       3631        7.5%
1926-1950                      15098       31.5%
1951-present                    2313        4.8%
not dated                      24791       51.8%


Catalog records for the art, artifacts, and photography collections are currently being added to KICAT, the online catalog for The Kinsey Institute library and special collections. This project is ongoing, so researchers are advised to contact the Institute's curator about holdings. Use of these collections is by appointment only. For information or access please contact Curator Catherine Johnson-Roehr.

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