J. P. Ball, African American Photographer

About the Project

Cincinnati Museum Center's photograph collection is part of the Audiovisual Collections Department and houses approximately 700,000 archival photographs. The photograph collection dates from the 1840's to the present and documents the history of Cincinnati and the surrounding region.

The Ball Special Collection consists of several hundred images by James Presley Ball, Ball & Thomas, and Alexander Thomas. These include daguerreotypes and other cased images, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, and other photographic formats. The Ball Special Collection at Cincinnati Museum Center represents the largest collection of images by Ball and partners held by any repository.

The Ball Database project resulted from an effort by Cincinnati Museum Center to digitize these important images and make them web accessible to the widest possible audience. In its first phase, the database consists of about a third of CMC's Ball holdings.

The remainder of the images will be added to the database as work progresses. Cincinnati Museum Center continues to grow its Ball collection and is interested in hearing from parties who may wish to donate images to the collection.

Organizations with photographs by J.P. Ball, Alexander Thomas, or other Ball Family members or partners, who wish to have their images included in the database are welcome to do so. For more information about this, please contact Jim DaMico, Curator of Photographs and Prints, jdamico@cincymuseum.org or by phone at (513) 287-7094.


This database was made possible through the efforts of many dedicated staff from Cincinnati Museum Center's History Collections and Cincinnati History Library and Archives. They include:

  • Linda Bailey - Photograph Curator/Reference Librarian
  • Anne Kling - Archives Manager
  • Scott Gampfer - Director of History Collections and Preservation
  • Rick Kesterman - Library Assistant/Digital Scanning Tech.
  • Tina Bamert - Library Assistant/Digital Scanning Tech.
  • Ruby Rogers - Director, CHS Library/Community History
  • Laura Chace - Curator of Rare Books
  • Beth Gerber - Preservation Manager
  • Barbara Dawson - Curator of Printed Works
  • Chris Bell Puckett - Library Assistant
  • Anne Shepherd - Reference Librarian
  • M'Lissa Kesterman - Assistant Librarian

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