Inspiration is Everywhere: The New York Public Library Picture Collection

One of the best places to go for visual inspiration is the New York Public Library’s Picture collection. Founded in 1915, and formerly located in the Mid-Manhattan branch, this amazing collection is now housed in the main library.

The collection has over 12,000 subjects and more than one million individual images. Arranged on low shelves, folders containing the images are available to browse through and check out from the library. Topics as varied as Animals, Decorative Patterns and Advertisements are available to look through for visual reference, inspiration and just plain curiosity. While some of the collection is available digitally, there is still nothing like flipping through stacks of images to come across one that strikes your fancy.

Here are some images from a recent visit from folders containing vintage perfume ads from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. If you are in New York City, definitely come take a look through this wonderful collection!

1950s Yardley Perfume Ad in the NYPL Picture Collection

A Yardley perfume ad from the 1950s with fantastically rendered jewelry!

1940s Shiaperelli Ad by Marcel Vertès

An ad from the 1940s for the perfume, Sleeping de Shiaparelli by artist and costume designer Marcel Vertès

1950s Ad by Guy Maynard for Cocktail-Dry by Jean Patou in the New York Public Library Picture Collection

Wonderful hand-painted type face by Guy Maynard in the 1950s ad for Cocktail-Dry by Jean Patou.

Marrakech by Lancôme by Edmond-Maruice Perrot found at the NYPL Picture Collection
A 1949 advertisement for Lancôme's Marrakech perfume by the artist Edmond-Maurice Perrot