Skip to Main Content

Archives and Special Collections at Penn State Harrisburg

This guide provides an overview of the resources available from Archives and Special Collections in the Madlyn L. Hanes Library, part of the Penn State University Libraries, at Penn State Harrisburg.

J. Randall Plummer Photography Collection

Sample from the J. Randall Plummer Collection showing a woman with her hands folded, in a dark dress, wearing a white bonnetAbout the Collection (Series I)

Acquired in November 2014 from private collector, Mr. J. Randall Plummer, the collection consists of museum-quality, fine art photographic prints.  Archives and Special Collections in the Madlyn L. Hanes Library, part of the Penn State University Libraries, is proud to curate and preserve over twenty examples from Mr. Plummer's extensive collection of photography.

Items in the collection span the early 1850s to the late 1970s and serve as examples of various photographic processes used through the history of early and modern photography, such as pristine daguerreotypes by Samuel Root (pictured left) and Jeremiah Gurney, collotype and photogravures, a large hand-tinted tintype, gelatin silver prints, a salted paper print, and a printing-out paper (POP) print.  In addition to works by noted daguerreotype photographers Root and Gurney, other well-known artists represented in the collection include:

  • Several U.S. Farm Security Administration photographers such as Walker Evans, Russell Lee, and Arthur Rothstein
  • Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, considered the "Father of Modern Photography," and
  • One print by Eadweard Muybridge, who is often described as the "Father of Motion Pictures" because of his pioneering work with moving images.

The J. Randall Plummer Photography Collection provides a valuable teaching and learning tool for the history and evolution of photography.  The Plummer Collection is used frequently by faculty and students in Penn State Harrisburg's Communications and American Studies programs.

About the Collection (Series II)

In late November 2021, Archives and Special Collections received a second generous donation of several hundred photographicCollection of Tintypes prints and over 50 rare books with original photographs from Mr. J. Randall Plummer. Notable items in the series include the following:

  • Examples of photographica (35 mm slide viewers and folding metal stereoviewers)
  • Leather and paper albums
  • Large and small albumen prints, ambrotypes, and cartes-de-visite (CdVs)
  • Glass plate negatives, real photo postcards, stereoscopic photographic views (stereographs)
  • Numerous tintypes (pictured right), and more!

The collection is being processed, arranged, and described during Spring and Summer 2022 and will complement the fine art photographs in Series I of the J. Randall Plummer Collection.  We look forward to sharing these new acquisitions with students and faculty in the coming year.

Inventory for the Collection