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Edmund David Osinski Photographs of the Philippines


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Edmund David Osinski (1909-1983) was a U.S military veteran and photographer.

Osinski's service with the Army and Air Force included photographic fieldwork as well as administrative positions in reproduction services, such as the Air Force printing plant at Brookley Air Force Base, Mobile, Alabama, and the John F. Kennedy Space Center's Installation Support, Reproduction Branch, for which he was awarded several awards of distinction.

Early in his career, Osinski served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. His first assignment was with the Army Pictorial Service in New York, followed by service in Manila in the Philippines from 1931 to 1934. As base photographer, Osinski's duties in Manila were wide-ranging, covering military parades and the visits of military dignitaries, and capturing images of government buildings and landscapes as well as various Indigneous communities.

Throughout his career, Osinski developed multiple photographic printing processes, such as the "Systemat" process, which were adopted by the Air Force and other Department of Defense agencies.

Osinski married Helen Cooper on August 19, 1934; they had nine children.

This collection consists of photographs Edmund David Osinski (1909-1983) took while serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the early 1930s. Most document individuals, practices, and daily life of Indigenous peoples of the Philippines, particularly the Bontoc/Bontok people, the Kalinga, Ifugao, Itneg, and other Cordilleran, or Igorot, peoples as well as Mangyan-affiliated groups and Moro people, among others. Also included are photographs of landscapes, buildings, and those relating to the U.S. military presence in the country.

Captions and descriptions of photographs include racist and dehumanizing language.

Gift of Karen Roy, daughter of Edmund Osisnki, in 2022 (AM 2023-034).

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2022. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2022 using information provided by Osinski's daughter, Karen Roy. During 2022 processing, two nitrate negatives were digitized and then destroyed.

A few photographs whose subjects fell outside the scope of the collection were removed during 2022 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
December 2022
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Print Photographs, 1931-1933. 2 folders.
Content Warning

Captions or descriptions of photographs include racist and dehumanizing language.

Physical Description

2 folders

Nitrate Negatives, 1932. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes two photographs with the creator-based titles (that were marked on original enclosures), "Moonlight Scene on Bay with Caraboo" with the note "personal copy," and "Lake Taal and Nipa Shack (1932)" with the note "personal."

The original nitrate negatives were destroyed upon digtization due to their hazardous chemistry.

Physical Description

1 folder

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