About the Collection
A ghost sign is a painted advertisement on a building, most prominent prior to the 1930s (sometimes dating back to the late 1800s). They are typically painted on brick buildings. People have begun to document these fading remnants of advertising in urban environments, and digital archives of ghost signs are building across the United States and beyond.
The Ghost Signs of Louisville collection emerged from a partnership between the University of Louisville Libraries and Fine Arts department. Archives and Special Collections Assistant Curator Amy Purcell presented the idea for the digital collection to Mary Carothers, Associate Professor of Photography in Fine Arts, who included it as assignment in her Documentary Photography (Art 390) class in fall 2011.
The students searched a selected neighborhood(s) for ghost signs, photographed them, and recorded information about each image (pdf). Of the 201 photographs submitted by the class, 122 were added to the digital collection. Libraries employees went out and photographed additional images, and community members have also contributed. This collection will continue to grow with future submissions.
Conditions of Use
The images on this website are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licenses.
Photographer Vincent Rozanskas is willing to provide higher-resolution copies of his photographs for non-commercial purposes. Please contact the Digital Initiatives Librarian for more information.
To cite an image from this collection, please use the format:
[Item title], Ghost Signs of Louisville Collection, University of Louisville Photographic Archives, Louisville, Kentucky. Include the reference URL (found by following the link in the header above the digital file).
Fall 2011 Documentary Photography students, along with University Libraries faculty and staff and community members, took the photographs included on this site and created metadata for their images.
Rachel I. Howard standardized and edited all metadata in accordance with the University of Louisville Digital Initiatives data dictionary (PDF), resized the images using IrfanView version 4.27, and uploaded the images and metadata into CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 6.1.1.
Terri L. Holtze designed the HTML pages and the HistoryPin map. Dwayne K. Buttler, J.D., provided copyright advice.