Series - Photograph library

Afghanistan - Credit 0563 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0778 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0721 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0449 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0649 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0674 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0374, Credit 0375 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0248 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0380 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0158 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0068 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0627 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0539 - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0202 - Country Photographs - Volume 1 Afghanistan - Membership Signing - Country Photographs Afghanistan - Credit 0202 - Country Photographs - Volume 2 Afghanistan - General - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan S017 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 0995, Loan 0996, Loan 0997 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1595 - Country Photographs Algeria - Membership Signings International Bank for Reconstruction and Development [IBRD] and In... Algeria - Loan 0242 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1158, Loan 1159 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 0131 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1803 - Country Photograph Algeria - Loan 1802 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1185 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1427 - Country Photographs Algeria, Australia - Loan 0378, Loan 0029 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 0912, 0913 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0525 - Country Photographs Algeria - Loan 1545 - Country Photographs Azerbaijan - General - Country Photographs Albania - General - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 1463 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0577 - Country Photographs Argentina - IFC and IDA Membership Signings - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0619 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 1521, Loan 1564 - Country Photograph Argentina - Loan 1384 - Country Photograph Argentina - Loan 0288 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 1330 - Country Photograph Argentina - Loan 0308 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0734 - Country Photograph Argentina - Loan 0505 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0644 - Country Photographs Argentina - Loan 0733 - Country Photograph Argentina - Loan 1880 - Country Photograph Argentina - Investment 0079 - Country Photographs Argentina - Investment 0193 - Country Photograph
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Identity area

Reference code



Photograph library


  • 1944 - 2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.75 linear feet of textual records; 169.64 linear feet of photographs

Context area

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The records in this series were created or accumulated by the Office of External Relations (EXT) or one of its predecessors. Most of the records were maintained in External Affair's Photograph Library and were then transferred directly to the Archives in the late 1980s or early 1990s. More recent photographs were transferred directly from EXT using approved records retention and disposition schedules. Some of the textual records in this series were first transferred from EXT to the Bank's Central Files where they were classified along with other EXT records. They were transferred into the Archives' custody upon the closure of Central Files.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

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.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Textual records are arranged by photographer name or chronologically. Files with photographs may contain one or more item(s) in each file. Country photographs are generally arranged by country and, often, thereunder by loan number. Staff photographs are arranged alphabetically by last name. Bank building photographs are arranged by date or subject title. Photographs documenting the Bretton Woods Conference are arranged by country or subject title. Annual meetings photographs are arranged by year and, in some cases, thereunder by subject title.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

Language of material

  • English
  • Spanish

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

An inventory list is available here.

Given the large number of folders in this series, you may also wish to use the Search World Bank Group Archives function on the top right of this page. Search by country, Bank staff member name, subject (eg. Bretton Woods), or event (eg. Annual meetings) and, upon receiving your results, limit your search to Folders in the Level of Description field on the left-hand bar. As many of the photographs in this series have been digitized, you may also limit your search further to display only those folders containing digitized images by clicking Show results with digital objects.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See Records of the Office of External Relations -- Internal communication and staff engagement (WB IBRD/IDA EXT) for photographs used in the publication of "International Bank Notes".

  • See Records of the Office of the President (WB IBRD/IDA EXC) for more photographs of Bank Presidents.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

Disclosure status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

13 May 2015




Accession area