In August of 1985 the Special Collections Department of the William R. Pullen Library at Georgia State University (GSU) acquired a collection of photographic negatives estimated to number 150,000 images from Margaret P. Lane. Mrs. Lane's late husband, Dan Lane, had been the last operator of an Atlanta commercial photography studio begun by his father in 1939. Subsequent events have shown that the acquisition of this collection was a simple matter when compared to the difficulties of arranging, describing, and providing access to such a large body of images in negative form. This article will discuss the changing role of visual images in the study of the past, give a brief history of the firm that created the images in the Lane collection, describe the scope and condition of the collection, and explain the arrangement scheme for the collection.



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