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Willard R. Ross Postcard Collection

 Collection — external hard drive: DIG_00001
Identifier: P031

Scope and Contents

The Willard R. Ross Postcard Collection comprises original gelatin silver postcard prints, primarily of the streets and architecture of Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas. The collection consists largely of building and street views – churches, cemeteries, schools, businesses, and other public buildings are well represented – but also contains images of social organizations like the Wanderlusters, a co-ed hiking club. Ross assigned captions and non-unique numbers to most of his postcard images, which are used as the item titles.


  • Creation: 1909-1931


Conditions Governing Access

The external hard drive DIG_00001 is for internal use only and contains backups of the digital collection. Access to the diital collection is available through Dig DC.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are in the public domain and there are no known restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

Photographer Willard R. Ross was born in Ohio in 1860 and moved to the District of Columbia shortly after the turn of the century with his wife Ida C. (Trovinger) Ross. Ross specialized in “hometown” view postcards, depicting everyday life as opposed to the typical federal buildings and monuments. Over the next two decades he published nearly 2,000 images. Ross died in 1948 and is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland.


0.75 Linear feet

1 Boxes

Language of Materials



Processed without series. Items are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Custodial History

Collection was donated to the Library in the late 1940s by a Ross family member and originally housed with the Washingtoniana postcard collection. The Ross postcards were separated and organized into their own collection in 2000. There is no deed of gift for this collection. Additional Ross postcard images from various donors have been added to the collection over time.

Related Materials

Washingtoniana Postcard Collection (P030)
Willard R Ross Collection (DC Historical Society)

Processing Information

After removing the images from the Washingtoniana Postcard Collection, the Images were individually sleeved for protection and arranged into subject categories. In 2017, the Ross postcards were digitized and added to Dig DC. The digital collection also contains lower resolution scans of Ross postcards from the DC Historical Society and two private collections.

Willard R. Ross Postcard Collection
An Inventory of the Willard R. Ross Postcard Collection at the DC Public LIbrary
Jerry A. McCoy
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001