The TMC Library Historical Photograph Collection contains photographs, negatives, slides, published prints, printed materials, postcards, framed images, audiovisual materials, and a plaque. The collection consists of roughly 5300 items, which includes individual 35mm slides, 35mm negatives, 120 format negatives, photographic prints, and other printed materials. This is an artificial collection of several types of images collected by or donated to the McGovern Historical Center (MHC) through the years. The bulk of the materials date from 1940 to 1990. The entire collection depicts images from 1543 to 2004. The earliest date is related to copy photographs of pages from the 1543 edition of the Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius. Other early dates are framed prints of well-known medical pioneers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries. Some dates describe the date of the copy photograph others describe the date of the original image. The collection illustrates the history of medicine around the world and more acutely the Texas Medical Center and Texas Medical Center Library. Majority of the materials have been removed from this collection and incorporated into the original collections or new collections based on the donor records.
The collection is arranged into three series: Cataloged Photographs, Subject Photographs, and Oversize and Audiovisual Materials. Subject Photographs are arranged in files according to subject and then in alphabetical order. Subject terms used are as follows (in order): Attractions Photos, Building Photos, Event Photos, Individual Photos, Institutions and Organizations, Medical Equipment and Apparatus, and Surgical, Anatomical, and Medical Photos.
The collection was created to consolidate various photographs and images collected by the archive staff. Many were cataloged and assigned identification numbers (P-### for prints or N-### for negatives). These photographs were originally donated. The donor information in the card catalog was used to either create new photograph collections or incorporate into existing collections. This collection is comprised of the remaining items. Information about donors, if known, is available in the inventory. Uncataloged photographs were organized into general subjects and kept in alphabetical order. Oversize materials maintain the same identification number system and subjects. To increase discoverability of all archival materials, the collection was expanded to include materials with no known provenance. This includes framed items stored in the Garment Artifacts and Framed (GAF) section as well as audiovisual materials.