Last Updated: Oct 19, 2023     Views: 1072

Below are directions to access and view BCPL's Historic Photograph Collection (also known as Legacy Web).

To search for historic photos:

  • Use Chrome or Firefox web browser to search for and view historic photos.
  • Go to BCPL's home page at
  • Hover over the Books and More tab.
  • Select Catalog from the drop down menu.
  • In the Search box, enter one of the following:
    • the name of a neighborhood such as Woodlawn, Towson, or Turners Station
    • the name of a business or a type of business such as Hamburger Junction, restaurant, gas station or quarry
    • a street name such as York Road or Reisterstown Road
    • a person's name such as Glen L. Martin or Dulaney
    • a keyword or keywords such as:
      • schools
      • houses
      • Catonsville library
      • Parkville school
  • Or if you want to see the entire collection of historic photos, type only an * in the search box. 
  • Click the down arrow in the "Limit by" field and select "Photograph: Historic" from the menu. If you forget to do this step you will get way too many irrelevant results.  
  • Click the search button (magnifying glass icon) to run the search.

Viewing photos:

  • Use the Chrome or Firefox web browsers.
  • Find a photo in your list of results and click on the title to open the catalog record.
  • Scroll to the bottom of that page and find the icons for "View Full Size Image".
  • To open a full size image, click on the image.

Customer usage of photos

To use historic photos for anything other than personal use, customers should email the library to ask for permission. After an investigation of the specific image and how it will be used, the library may grant permission to use a photograph. Once permission is granted, the customer will be emailed a digital file of the requested image(s). There is no charge for historic photos. It's then up to the customer to print the image(s).