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Joseph Boggs Beale Collection

Identifier: JBB

Scope and Contents

This collection contains items with examples of Joseph Boggs Beale's art and pertaining to the history of lantern slides. Primarily, there are lantern slides with Beale's images, like his The Village Blacksmith, along with postage stamps featuring his art. The collection also includes examples of different types of lantern slides and ephemera related to their use.


  • 1855-2021


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Joseph Boggs Beale Collection is the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Biographical / Historical

Joseph Boggs Beale (1841-1926) was born in Philadelphia and studied writing and drawing. In 1862, he earned the position of Professor of Drawing and Writing at Central High School, his alma mater, over Thomas Eakins. Originally an oil painter, he transitioned to illustration after making field sketches during the Civil War. His first published drawing, of a baseball game in Harper’s Weekly, is part of this collection.

Beale began working as an illustrator for Caspar W. Briggs’s lantern slide company in about 1881. His work made him the most accomplished artist of lantern slides, illustrating stories, poems, songs, and current and historical events. Thanks to Beale’s illustrations, Briggs’s lantern slide company became one of the world’s largest and most innovative. Beale worked with Briggs until motion pictures became popular and undermined the lantern slide industry in the early twentieth century. Over the course of his career, from 1881 until about 1920, Beale produced some 2073 images in 258 sets.


1 linear feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



Lantern slides, stamps, and other ephemera related to Joseph Boggs Beale.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Terry and Deborah Borton.

Related Materials

There are drawings and a dinner plate featuring Beale's images in the museum's artwork collection.

Separated Materials

These materials were accompanied by three books in the museum's library collection: Star-Spangled History; Before the Movies; and Joseph Boggs Beale’s American Pictorial History.

Processing Information

This collection was processed and described by Cecilia Figliuolo in 2021.

Guide to the Joseph Boggs Beale Collection
Cecilia Figliuolo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States