Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection (Cornell University Library)

W. Hughs F.R.G.s; Map of India, and Ceylon; Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection, Cornell University Library

Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is located in the Carl A. Kroch Library. Named for Carl A. Kroch, a Cornell alumnus and bookseller, the library was designed especially for the storage of rare materials and opened in 1992. The division's collections include 400,000 printed volumes, over 70 million manuscripts, and more than 1 million photographs, paintings, prints, and other visual media. A number of the visual collections have been digitized and are now available in Artstor, including the Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection, Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection, and the Hill Ornithology Collection.

The Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection of European and American travel accounts of pre-modern Southeast Asia, consists of more than 350 books and journal articles written in English and French. These primary accounts — travelogues, letters, official accounts, journals, autobiographies, guidebooks, and photo albums — cover Southeast Asia, but also include East Asia, South Asia, Africa, South America and other areas. In addition to the written narratives, which range chronologically from the 1550s to the 1920s, these accounts include some 10,000 images. Most are illustrated, and a majority contain plates or maps, many of them in color. These accounts were selected for the quality of their first-hand documentation of the region, as well as for their illustrative matter, providing a comprehensive visual representation of Southeast Asia as recorded by Western travelers. Rather significantly, these materials document travellers' experiences during the colonial period, whether the Dutch in Indonesia, the British in Burma, Malaysia, and Singapore, the French in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, or the Spanish and Americans in the Philippines. The collection is represented in Artstor with over 10,000 images of drawings, photographs, prints, and maps.