Voices from the Beinecke Library

David Plowden: An American Photographer

For five decades, the photographer David Plowden of Winnetka, Illinois, has documented America’s vanishing landscapes and artifacts, his stunning black and white photographs forming an image of life in 20th-century urban and rural America.

Marion, Kansas, 1973

Plowden, who graduated from Yale College in 1955, has written and illustrated two dozen books and provided photographs for numerous others. In 1995, the Beinecke Library acquired a major portion of his archive of prints and research materials. The Plowden archive is part of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, noted for its outstanding collection of 19th-century photography of the American West, including works by A. J. Russell, Timothy O'Sullivan, Carleton Watkins, and William Henry Jackson.

Browse nearly 2,000 black and white photographic prints digitized by the Beinecke Library. For additional information about Mr. Plowden’s career and work visit

January 15, 2010


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