Collection F 2008.004 - Spira 19th and 20th century foreign language photography publications

Original Digital object not accessible

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Spira 19th and 20th century foreign language photography publications

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description



Reference code

F 2008.004

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1866-1975 (Creation)
    Spira, Jonathan
  • 1880-1930 (Creation)
    Spira, Fred, Mr., 1924-2007

Physical description area

Physical description

4.57 m of published material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Fred Spira was a photographic historian, collector and business owner who was one of the founders of Spiratone, a photographic business that he began with his family in 1941 as a lab for film development in New York. The business grew into a multi-million dollar business that manufactured and sold affordable photographic equipment. The company became publicly traded when it merged with Interphoto in 1967, it was then eventually bought out by Argus and closed in the early 1990's. Spira retired from the business in 1987.

Spira collected photographic literature and ephemera throughout his life, eventually amassing 10,000 books and 20,000 pieces of photographic equipment, including rare cameras and viewing devices such as and 1861 Ross-Sutton wet plate Panoramic camera and the 1896 Pettibone Bros. Mfg. Co. Revolving Disc Sciopticon. These items and others from the collection were exhibited at the George Eastman House Museum in 1980. The collection also served as the basis for the 2001 book "The History of Photography: as Seen Through the Eyes of the Spira Collection", written by Fred Spira and his son, Jonathan Spira and published by Aperture.

Portions of the Spira library were acquired by the Ryerson Library and Archives in 2006 and 2008, and the photographic camera and ephemera was sold after Spira's death in 2007 and now forms the basis of the Photographic Technology collection at the Qatar Museums Authority.

Custodial history

The books were originally part of the Spira Collection's library, collected by Fred Spira in support of his photographic ephemera collection.

Scope and content

The collection contains books and bound periodicals on the subject of photography. Subjects include instructional guides, process descriptions, art photography, early photographic chemistry and product catalogues. Some publications include tipped in photogrpahs. TThe primary language of the collection is German, with a few Spanish, Russian, Czech, and Japanese publications.
Periodicals include:
Allgemeine Photographische Zeitung (January 1924-December 1926)
Photofreund (1924)
Photofreund Jahrbuch (1924-1934)
Photographische Archiv (1866, 1871-1891)
Photographische Correspondenz (1878, 1889-1908, 1928, 1932, 1947-1951)

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was acquired by Ryerson University Library and Archives from Jonathan Spira, son of collector Fred Spira.


Language of material

Script of material

Language and script note

The primary language of the collection is German, with a few Spanish, Russian, Czech, and Japanese publications.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Open. Records are available for consultation without restriction.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials

The Spira Collection:
Photographic Technology Collection: Qatar Museums Authority

Related materials


Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

Script of description


Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area