Picture Dis

The National Library of Jamaica offers the most extensive collections of
Jamaican and West Indian reference materials including photographic,
print and digitized images.  This digital collection has been established in
keeping with the aims and objectives of the National Library of Jamaica,
“…to collect, preserve, document and facilitate access to the nation’s cultural heritage…”

The National Library welcomes potential collaborators and partners to join with us in expanding Picture Dis.

Traditional Dances of Jamaica


Jamaican traditional dances fall roughly into three categories: African derived, European derived and Creole, that is, a mixture of both types. The African derived, such as Kumina, Myal and Pocomania, are mainly religious dances integral to worship ceremonies. They take the ritualists into the realm of the spiritual, and heighten their readiness for spiritual possession. Jamaica is indebted largely to the Maroon Communities for the preservation of these aspects of our African Heritage...Click here for more and to view collection.




January 14, 1907, marks an unforgettable day in Jamaica’s history. On this fateful afternoon, 105 years ago, a great earthquake hit Kingston with a force which left not one edifice untouched not onl-y as a result of the quake, but ensuing fires. The tremors extended to surrounding parishes as well. The images contained in this album present, vicariously, the horror of that day. Click here to view collection.





The church is very central to the lives of many Jamaicans. This is evident by the ever growing number of churches to be found in every nook and cranny of the island. In this collection, we highlight our main-stay churches - the parish churches- giving a bit of their history where possible. Click here to view collection.



This West India Scenery Collection consists of illustrations of negro characters, the process of making sugar, etc . from sketches taken by R. Bridgens during a voyage to, and residence of seven years in, the island of Trinidad. Trinidad, having been titled, “The Indian Paradise” from the charms of its scenery, affords a happy subject for illustrating the striking features of the regions, of which it forms so interesting a portion. It is presumed, the following sketches afford a better idea than mere words can give of the various pursuits and objects which characterizes the situation in Trinidad circa the 1840s. Click here to view collection


James Hakewill (1778 – 1843) was an English born architect and engraver, who did extensive travels throughout Europe and the West Indies. The National Library of Jamaica has in its holdings Hakewill’s “A Picturesque Tour of the island of Jamaica…” which was published in 1825. It is a compilation of twenty-one plates done by the artist whilst residing in Jamaica for nearly two years. Added to the sharp, inviting drawings which feature waterfalls, plantations, square, towns and harbours, are notes explaining each scene...Click here for more and to view collection.

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The National Library of Jamaica boasts a collection of over 960 postcards featuring a myriad of Jamaican scenes from 1906 – 1970. These cards are a rich source of historical imagery and encompass several card types such as, view, greeting, historical, art and photographic postcards. They also feature different themes including traditional practices, the islands’ social conditions, businesses and early hotels and tourist spots. Though once inexpensive souvenirs these items now serve to compliment advertisements, décor and historical research. Click here to view collection


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The Valdez Collection features photographs taken in the very early 20th century in Jamaica by J.B. Valdez. This is just a sample of the photographs in the collection. There has been a suggestion that photographs in the Valdez Collection are wrongly attributed to J.B. Valdez and are, in fact, the work of J. Valentine and Co., a Scottish firm that came to Jamaica to take photographs of Jamaica's Great Exhibition in 1891. We would welcome evidence-based opinions in this debate which would help us to clarify the situation. Click here to view collection

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Collection Contributed by the Jamaica National Foundation


Through competition, the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation's Resolution Project has sought to promote Advocacy Through Photography amongst High School students in rural Jamaica...more

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The National Online Album of Jamaica is a digital image collection of the people, places and products of Jamaica, organized by the fourteen parishes of Jamaica....more