Erik Overbey Glass Plate Portrait Index

There are more than 11,000 glass plate portraits in the Erik Overbey Collection. They date from the 1890s to c. 1915. W. A. Reed was the photographer for portraits taken between 1880s and 1905. Erik Overbey, who began as a photographer in 1903, subsequently purchased the negatives of the William A. Reed studio, and both groups came into the possession of The McCall Library in 1978. Those interested in portraits of Mobilians taken after 1905 should see the Index to Overbey Nitrate Portraits (for the years 1905 to 1934) and the Index to Overbey Safety Portraits (for the years after World War II). Researchers should keep in mind that there is some overlap, so, if you are interested in a portrait made in, say, 1949, you should check both the Nitrate and Safety indexes. Or, if you are interested in a portrait taken in 1911, you should check both the Glass and Nitrate indexes.

This index is arranged alphabetically by last name. It also lists the subject of the portrait, the size of the negative, the studio, and additional remarks, if any. Please see the key below for an explanation of the various abbreviations used in this index. To order a reprint of one of these portraits, please see our reproduction services page. It details the cost, sizes offered, and delivery time. Interested parties can also email The McCall Library at

Subject: C=Child, F=Female, M=Male, G=Group
Size: 5x7+ and 8x10- = Slightly Irregular Size
Studio: Overbey, unless marked with an R, then R=Reed
Remarks: B=Broken Negative, D=Damaged Negative, M=Mended Negative

Click here for the Erik Overbey Glass Plate Portrait Index (PDF).