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Records of the Office of External Relations

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Photograph library

This series consists of photographs created by or for departments responsible for the external affairs function in the World Bank. The majority of the photographs included here were managed by Information and Public Affairs Department (IPA) staff responsible for the Photograph Library. Photographs were taken by Bank staff or were received from other sources, including contracted photographers, country representatives, among others. The Photo Library loaned or provided copies of photographs to external organizations, including publishing companies, newspapers, magazines, governments, and academic institutions. Photographs were also used in Bank publications and other promotional displays and projects in the World Bank Group headquarters and field offices.

This series contains an extensive collection of country photographs documenting project sites, and loan and credit signing events. The majority of these photos document International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) projects from 1946 to 2001, but projects financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) between 1962 and 1981 (predominant 1978-1980) are also represented. Country photos may also include images of cities, villages, dwellings, people, streets and markets, transportation, and water supply. Photographs documenting membership signings of the IDA and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) are also included. The majority of these photographs are 8x10black and white prints mounted on cardboard, often with captions on the reverse. More recent images are 35mm color slides often contained in binders. Some of the IFC project images are black and white negatives.

Photographs of World Bank staff, including Bank Presidents, as well as Executive Directors are included in this series. Photographs are generally portraits but, in the case of senior staff and, especially, Bank presidents, images documenting activities, meetings, trips, and other important events are also included. Photographs are 8x10 black and white prints and are, in most cases, mounted on cardboard, occasionally with captions on the reverse.

Photographs of Bank-owned buildings, including those in Washington DC and, in lesser number, Paris, France, are included. Images are of building exteriors and also include building interiors and the office of President Robert McNamara. Photographs date from 1946 to 1982 and are black and white prints of various size, some of which are mounted on cardboard.

Photographs from the Bretton Woods Conference held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July 1944 are also included. Photographs include images of various national delegations as well as notable attendees. A small number of group photos and photos of country representatives signing International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) Articles of Agreement are also included. Note that these photographs were originally taken by press sources and by the Office of War Information of the United States Government. Photographs are black and white prints of various size, some of which are mounted on cardboard with captions on the reverse.

Photographs documenting the Bank's Annual Meetings are also included in this series. These photographs show prominent guests, Bank staff, speakers, and events and are included for every year between 1946 and 1986 with the exception of 1976. Annual Meetings from 1994 to1996 and 1998 are also included. The majority of photographs are black and white prints of various size, some of which are mounted on cardboard with captions on the reverse. Some of the photographs from the 1990s are color prints or slides.

A small amount of textual records relating to the management of the photograph library and procurement of photographs are also included. These records, dating from 1959 to 1968, primarily relate to hiring photographers to travel to Bank member countries and photograph ongoing Bank-funded projects. Many of these contracts are with photographers represented by Black Star Publishing Co., Inc., in New York, New York. Much of the series contains correspondence with Black Star as well as with the photographers themselves discussing contracts, logistics, and related matters.

Textual records in this series also include correspondence between staff in the Bank's Information Department responsible for photograph lending and external correspondents representing publishing companies, academic institutions, international organizations, etc. Correspondence generally concerns requests and logistics related to the loan of photographs from the World Bank photo library. These records date from 1966 to 1968.

The series also contains single copies of the Bank publication "Loans at Work". Included are copies from 1950 through 1967 with the exception of 1951, 1956, and 1966. These publications, which provide country and regional lending information but primarily consist of photographs, were maintained by the Photo Library staff. Some of the publications contain annotations next to photographs indicating where in their library the photograph was stored.

Slides and black and white prints of images used in the 1984 to 1986 World Bank Group Annual Reports are also included in this series. A folder containing prints of diagrams and charts as well as a folder containing notes related to the creation and publication of the reports are are also included.

A small number of Photo Library brochures dating from 1983 and 1984 are also included in this series.

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