Gado Images Hits 25,000th Image on Getty Images

Gado Images is pleased to announce a major milestone for April 2016 – hitting 25,000 images in our Archival Collections on Getty Images. We have even exceeded this number and currently have 26,309 images in our collections, and are adding additional images each day.

We send our thanks to all our partners including the Afro American Newspapers, JHU Sheridan Libraries, Clarence Gatson, Laguna College of Art + Design, Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, and several individual collectors. Working with these archives has enabled us to offer collections spanning a wide variety of topics including African American history, vernacular photos and snapshots of everyday life, postcards, history of science and technology, California history, and more to creatives worldwide.

Below are sample images from some of our collections. You can also visit specific collections by clicking on the links below.

Afro American Newspapers
Baltimore Arrest During Riot
JHU Sheridan Libraries Collection
Rachel Louise Carson, Portrait
Clarence Gatson Collection
Michael Jackson and Diana Ross
Rex Brandt/LCAD Collection
‘Matterhorn mountain’
Stuart Lutz Collection
To Hell With Hanoi, A Political Pin

Gado Images maintains our own wholly-owned archive and actively acquires new materials that may be of interest to our clients. Our particular strength is vernacular imagery from the 20th century, including family photos, news photos, postcards, and publicity stills. Our collection consists of nearly 6,500 archival images.

Smith Collection
Native American

We are also expanding into Footage and have 203 Creative Videos available on Getty Images:

If your organization or archive is interested in working with Gado Images to digitize and monetize your historical images, contact or visit our website today.

Sheet Music from Johns Hopkins University Now Available Through Sheet Music Plus

Thousands of artifacts from the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection are now available through a partnership between Johns Hopkins University’s Sheridan Libraries, Project Gado, and Sheet Music Plus

Walnut Creek, California (PRWEB) August 18, 2015 — Project Gado, the Sheridan Libraries, and Sheet Music Plus today announced a partnership to make over 20,000 pieces of early American sheet music (1700s-1900s) available for purchase by musicians, choirs, and other performers. The music is from the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, which consists of over 29,000 pieces of American popular music. This music was donated to the Johns Hopkins University by Lester S. Levy over a period of years starting in 1976, and is now housed in the Special Collections Division of the Sheridan Libraries.

The Lester S. Levy Collection spans the years 1780 to 1980 and provides a thorough documentation of nineteenth-century America through popular music. The collection is especially strong in music spawned by military conflicts from the War of 1812 through World War I. The songs cover topics ranging from military victories and political campaigns to temperance, courtship and cooking. The collection includes choral selections, ballroom dance classics, songs from musicals, ukulele music, and much more. Significant artists include Irving Berlin, Albert Von Tilzer, John Philip Sousa, and Stephen Foster.

“Sheet music was the popular culture of its time. People used it to share news, advance political causes, and entertain their friends. It is an important part of our shared cultural heritage,” said Thomas Smith, Co-Founder, Project Gado.

The partnership will make it easy for musicians to purchase the sheet music in a familiar format, store it alongside their contemporary music from Sheet Music Plus, and easily perform the songs. It will also allow musicians to more easily find music from the collection, using Sheet Music Plus’ powerful search tools. A portion of sales from the collections will be used to digitize and share additional historical artifacts at the Johns Hopkins University.

“We are very pleased to represent the Lester S. Levy Collection” said Jenny Silva, Sheet Music Plus CEO. “The collection adds an important historical component to Sheet Music Plus’ world-leading catalog of digital download and print sheet music. It has been fun to watch which titles customers have been interested in. Top sellers have included “12th Street Rag”, “My Faithful Stradivari”, “Under the Double Eagle. March” and “A trip to Niagara. March and Two Step.” Musicians can view and purchase the music at

The Gado 2 Kit: Changes and New Possibilities

Project Gado frequently receives questions about buying kits for our Gado 2 scanning robot. The Gado 2 was the invention which put us on the map more than five years ago, when Project Gado launched in 2010. For several years, we sold $500 Gado 2 kits to help get our open source community started.

Since that time, scanning technology has come a long way, spurred in part (we hope) by the Gado 2 and our other archival scanning innovations. Over the last two years, in fact, both the Gado 2 and the market for other scanning technologies have come so far that Project Gado has changed our focus dramatically, to make sure we best serve our mission: digitizing and sharing the world’s visual history.

In the case of the Gado 2, open source development of the robot has advanced so dramatically that our community’s progress on the technology has outpaced our own. See, for example, the remarkable work done by Aalto University in Finland.

For this reason, we are no longer selling Gado 2 kits directly. Work on the robot has transitioned 100% to our community. Instead, we now focus on using the whole spectrum of digitization technologies (including, in some cases, the Gado 2) to best serve the needs of individual archives and collections. Below are some of the resources we can provide.

Since many new alternatives now exist, the first question to ask is why you’d like a Gado 2:

I want to digitize my archival holdings or personal collections cheaply and easily.

The Gado 2 was designed to solve a very specific archival problem: autonomously digitizing sensitive prints which couldn’t go through an autofeed scanner. Since we launched Project Gado, scanning technologies have improved dramatically (again, we hope partially because of our work), and a variety of excellent options now exist for scanning both prints and other materials. Even better, technologies which would have cost $50,000+ when we launched Project Gado can now be had for well under $1,000.

We’re happy to help you explore the right technologies for your particular archival digitization need. Please contact us for more information.

I am an archive and want to scan sensitive documents, like prints with attachments or postcards.

The Gado 2 can be an excellent solution for this, but depending on the materials you have, there are now even better options available commercially. Please see our For Archives page, and feel free to use the contact form to reach out and tell us more about your digitization needs.

I’m looking for some great robot-arm style hardware for scanning photos or doing other similar projects.

Earlier this year, a company called uFactory released a product called the uArm, which is basically the Gado 2, only it’s professionally manufactured, made of metal, includes three full axes, comes assembled, and costs $160 less than our original kits. You can get one right now through Sparkfun.

We’re not sure if uArm was directly inspired by the Gado 2, but the hardware is so close that there must have been some overlap (which is great!). We bought one of the first uArms, and while we haven’t integrated it into our software yet, it seems like a perfect replacement for the Gado 2. If you get one and set it up for scanning, please, please let us know so we can share the results here.

I’m looking for a challenging engineering project, or I want to contribute to open source development of the Gado 2 technology.

Great! Development of the Gado 2 is still alive and well; it’s just transitioned to our open source community rather than being led by the Project Gado team.

To get started, check out our presentation at OSCON 2014. This lays out the current state of development. Then, check out our Github (now managed by Aalto University) for code and part diagrams, and this post from Pycon for PCB schematics and files. And finally, follow the wonderful @samir_bhowmik on Twitter for more info on their work on the digGLAM Gado 2 modification at Aalto University.

If you do make changes or updates to the Gado 2 design, please contact us, and we’re happy to share access to our Github so you can publish your work! Thanks again for your interest in the Gado 2, and we hope to help you digitize and share your own visual history!



Project Gado Uncovers Rare Color Korean War Photos

Project Gado Uncovers Rare Color Korean War Photos

We have launched a new collection of around 80 rare color photos of the Korean War.

Here are some fun facts about the collection:

  • The collection is quite significant, because there are very few color images of the Korean War in existence, as color photography was a relatively new technology at the time.
  • The photos were taken on Kodachrome slide film, which only became widely available in early 1950s, right before the war, which started in 1952. We believe the photos were taken by an American serviceman.
  • Kodachrome is known for having rich, vibrant colors, and for holding up much better over time than other early color films. For this reason, the photos in the collection are in excellent condition.

To browse the full collection on Getty Images, please click this link:

The collection includes some of the only known color photos of South Korean President Syngman Rhee:
Photos from the first crossing of the famous Freedom Gate bridge into the Demilitarized Zone:
Images of daily life during the war, both for soldiers…
…and for the South Korean people:

You can license the Korean War images through Getty Images, and now you have the option to embed them in your own blog using Getty’s new embed tool. Contact us to learn more.

About Project Gado
Project Gado is digitizing and sharing the world’s visual history. Project Gado is currently partnered with the Afro American Newspapers, Baltimore’s Emerging Technology Centers, Aalto University in Finland, and Getty Images. Project Gado is sponsored in part by the Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries. For more information on Project Gado, please visit us on the web at, Like Us on Facebook at and Follow Us on Twitter at

Project Gado to Present at Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting 2014

Project Gado is scheduled to present at the Society Of California Archivists Annual General Meeting  in Palm Springs, May 8-10, 2014. Details of Project Gado’s session are below.

L'Horizon Hotel, Palm Springs, California. Architectural drawing by William F. Cody, circa 1952. From the Wrather Papers (CSLA-23). Courtesy of the William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University

L’Horizon Hotel, Palm Springs, California. Architectural drawing by William F. Cody, circa 1952.
From the Wrather Papers (CSLA-23). Courtesy of the William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University

Tech, Teens, and Archival Outreach

(Saturday, May 10, Session 9, 8:30 am – 10:00 am)

  • Manuel J. Escamilla, Santa Ana Public Library (Leader/Presenter)
  • Tom Smith, Project GADO
  • Kevin Cabrera, Heritage Museum of Orange County
The workshop leaders will demonstrate examples of community archives using technology to promote their collections to youth volunteers completing cultural heritage projects. These demonstrations will include a working pair of Project Gado digitization robots with instructions given by the inventor highlighting concepts of 3-D printing, open-source Arduino circuits, and automated scanning software to engage youth through partnerships with local museums. Santa Ana History Room staff will demonstrate ways to use Historypin mobile applications in conjunction with health initiative walks in downtown Santa Ana. The third demonstration will provide audience members with the basic instructional materials needed to conduct a low cost photo survey project to encourage volunteers to ‘think archivally.’ 
These projects emphasize finding new ways to engage youth audiences in archival endeavors and are meant to be easily replicated for other small institutions. Workshop organizers will go over their projects and answer audience questions regarding their implementation.
For more information on the SCA Annual General Meeting, please visit

About Project Gado

Project Gado is digitizing and sharing the world’s visual history. Project Gado is currently partnered with the Afro American Newspapers, the Emerging Technology Centers, Aalto University in Finland, and Getty Images. Project Gado is sponsored in part by the Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries. For more information on Project Gado, please visit us on the web at, Like Us on Facebook at and Follow Us on Twitter at

Getty Images Spotlights Project Gado for Black History Month

In time for Black History Month, Getty Images’ InFocus magazine, which tells the stories behind their coverage, featured Project Gado and our efforts to preserve and share the Afro Archive’s collection including some 1.5 million images of Black visual history & culture

Author Dr. Moira Hinderer, founding member of the Black Press Research Collective and archival advisor to Project Gado, wrote about how the Project Gado-Getty Images partnership is making an unusual and fascinating collection of historic images of African American life from the Afro-American Newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, available to a new generation of users throughout the world.

Dr. Hinderer points out that while the Afro Archive includes images of famous African Americans like Martin Luther King Jr., Louis Armstrong, and Lorraine Hansberry, as well as World War II and Civil Rights Movement photos, it is the “less expected images that really make this collection distinctive.” The Archive includes photos of everyday Black life in 20th century Baltimore, photos of brides, parties, paperboys, and streetscapes “unlike any representation of African American life you are likely to see on the news or in a television show like The Wire.”

To read the rest of the article, click here:

You can view 10 rediscovered African American History images handpicked by Dr. Hinderer here:

Project Gado would like to thank Dr. Moira Hinderer and the Getty Images InFocus team for all their hard work in telling the story behind the Afro Archive’s images. We’d also like to thank the staff at the Afro-American Newspapers for working with us to share their amazing collection.

Automated Anthropology: Johns Hopkins Magazine Interviews Project Gado founder Tom Smith

Johns Hopkins Magazine recently interviewed me and my former Anthropology advisor Jane Guyer for a Colleagues piece titled Automated Anthropology. In the interview, we talked about the overlap between our fields, and I explained how Project Gado grew out of the work I was doing as an undergraduate in the Anthropology Department, and for the Center for Africana Studies.

Johns Hopkins Magazine Winter 2013

Tom Smith, project manager and founder of Project Gado; Jane Guyer. George Armstrong Kelly Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins
Image: Will Kirk and Marshall Clarke

In my work at Hopkins, I was doing oral histories in East Baltimore, and noticed the lack of available photographs of the neighborhood, where residents historically could not afford cameras. I ended up tagging along on a Sheridan Libraries project called the Diaspora Pathways Archival Access Project, where the team was working at the Afro American Newspapers to index their photo archives. Founded in 1892, the paper had one and a half million photos which very few people knew existed. My solution to this problem was to invent a robot that could automatically digitize these photos so they would be more accessible to scholars and to the public.

Almost 4 years later, Project Gado has been more successful than I ever imagined. I built an open source archival scanning robot that small archives could use to digitize their photo collections for less than $500. We’ve scanned over 120,000 images at the Afro American Newspapers and are working with Getty Images to make the photos more accessible to the public. And there are organizations and individuals all over the world,  from Santa Ana, California to Boston, Massachusetts to a university in Finland, using and improving upon our technology.

Our new vision is to digitize and share the world’s visual history, and we are beginning to partner with some truly amazing organizations to this end.

So what does anthropology have to do with robots? Professor Guyer said it best, “You have to be constantly responsive to change, to demand, to success, to failure, to shifting parameters, and that’s the way we are in our fieldwork. We are constantly responsive to the voice of, and the action by, the population because that’s our disciplines’ job in the great intellectual division of labor: to keep expanding horizons of knowledge about human capacities for imagination and action in the world.”

To read the full Hopkins Magazine article by Brennen Jensen, please click below:

Project Gado Announces Partnership with Getty Images

This week, Project Gado announced a new partnership with Getty Images. This collaboration is intended to provide licensing for historic photographs digitized by Project Gado, beginning with the Afro American Newspapers’ archive in Baltimore.


Jackie Robinson Before A Game

Luckily we weren’t the only ones interested in the partnership. Forbes contributor Tim Conneally shared the story in his great article Baltimore Robot Makes History, Money, as did Andrew Zaleski in Technically Baltimore ‘s latest update about Project Gado.

In addition, a variety of photo trades covered the partnership, including Photo Archive News, Photographic News, Modern Image Photography, and Imaging Insider.

So where are the photos, you ask. Here are a few links we recommend you check out:

If you are an archive interested in partnering with Project Gado, please contact or fill out our contact form.

Top 5 Reasons to Intern at Project Gado

A blog post by JHU Sheridan Libraries Intern Julia Flood

This past spring and summer I worked as the Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Library’s Intern for Project Gado. I helped to digitize the archives of the Afro-American Newspaper and assisted with some of the marketing responsibilities. It was an amazing experience and these are the top five reasons why:

1. While sorting through the thousands of photographs in the archives of the Afro, we come across some very entertaining ones. Crazy clothing and hairstyles from the past, pictures of famous people, and awkward photo bombers. On one of my last days digitizing, I came across a picture of a very muscular wrestler, looking very intimidating – except for the small heart tattooed on his left pec. The picture is a little dark so it’s hard to see, but I believe “Mom” is tattooed in it.


2. During my seven months as the Project Gado intern, I learned a lot about the robot itself. I got to know all of the parts of Gado and how to handle any problems that arose. Another huge educational feature of the internship was learning the programming language python. I had never taken any computer science classes before, so this was all new material for me. With the help of my supervisor, Alex, I worked through basic commands in python. I plan to continue working on this skill with the hope of being able to write my own programs someday.

3. As a history major, I was very interested to look through the pictures and watch American culture grow and change with time, both on a wide scale and city-specific. The Baltimore area was extensively covered by the Afro-American Newspaper and therefore many of the images were of local Baltimoreans and events within the community. I was able to see how issues of race, gender and socioeconomics played a part in the formation of the Baltimore we know today.

4. One of the best parts of working with Project Gado was the feeling that my part as an intern actually made a difference. The project was able to scan 125,000 photos and now all of those pictures are preserved forever. Those pictures are no longer just sitting in boxes in the Afro building, but are available for individuals to access online.

photo (1)

5. All of the reasons listed above made my internship a good experience, but it was working with the Project Gado Team that made it great! Alex, Amy and Tom were all so devoted to making sure that the internship was educational for me and they made sure I felt like a member of the team.

Thanks for having me, Project Gado! I’ll miss you!


For more information on internship opportunities at Project Gado, please email your resume and a cover letter to


Project Gado Visits The Walters

Blog post by Digitization and Operations Specialist, Alex Neville

A couple weeks ago, we had a visit from a couple digitization specialists at the Walters Art Museum, Ariel Tabritha and Kimber Wiegand, to see the Gado robot at work. On Friday, we visited the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum to see their own digitization work setup.

Digitization Specialist Ariel Tabritha explains to our own Tom Smith the workings of their machine

Digitization Specialist Ariel Tabritha explains to our own Tom Smith the workings of their machine

The parchment manuscripts they work with there require methods and equipment very different from our own. You can see here the massive machine they use just to hold down and photograph the pages.

Their setup

Their setup

Along the side, beneath that color strip and the black sheet of cloth, is a block of thick, perforated plastic that uses vacuum suction to hold down each page as it’s being photographed—kind of like a reverse air hockey table. Meanwhile, a camera capable of taking 1200 dpi pictures captures an image of the page.

A closeup on their machine

A closeup on their machine

Digitization Specialist Kimber Wiegand demonstrates their software to our Marketing Director, Amy Smith

Digitization Specialist Kimber Wiegand demonstrates their software to our Marketing Director, Amy Smith

After scanning the entire book, and I mean the entire book–cover, pages, and spine–they bring it up on the computer for color correction and cropping, and then it’s ready to go.

Kimber shows me (Alex Neville) their image editing process

Kimber shows me (Alex Neville) their image editing process

The collection of artifacts they’re working from is incredibly varied. All manuscripts and books, but the sizes, contents, and the gorgeous designs and craftsmanship within change considerably from one book to the next. What’s especially cool is the way they’ve made their online collection available to the public— they have released every manuscript image under a Creative Commons Sharealike Attribute 3.0 Unported License, meaning that the full resolution images can be downloaded by anyone in the world, free of charge, and used for anything from dissertations to dorm room posters.

A tiny book from the collection)

A tiny book from the collection)

Their main image repository is available for online viewing at:

Some of their images have been grouped into online books, with interface designed to make browsing them more like reading a real, physical manuscript:–rare-books/

They’ve been posting new images to Flickr:

And there’s a Twitter account associated with it with links to new images as they’re scanned: