The establishment of a photo Room within the Historical Archive of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples dates back to the first half of the 60s of the last century.
Thanks to the intervention of Cardinal Gregorio Pietro Agagianian, at the time Prefect of the Congregation, and to Cardinal Francis Spellmann’s donation, then Archbishop of New York and Consultant of Propaganda, it was in fact possible to buy a first apparatus for micro filming.
At first it should have allowed the reproduction on 35mm reels of the material from the Archives since 1965, working backward, until the year 1908. The second phase involved the reproduction of material from 1965 to 1982. Finally, we were proposed to continue the work, moving once again in the opposite direction, from 1908 until the year of foundation 1622.
Although the first part of the project (1965-1908) had been completed in the early eighties, the following phases were momentarily set aside also due to the temporary closure of the Photographic Laboratory (1984-1989) and boxes of film already made (about 1500) were transferred to the Vatican Secret Archives.
Since the early '90s, with the reopening of the Laboratory, along with the handling of material for study reasons on behalf of the Archive-goers, the reproduction for the safety of archival material started again. It, however, follows different criteria today, focusing on the Volumes and the Funds of major consultation.
With the arrival of new technologies, in addition, it was decided to focus on having the digitization of documents, while keeping and using the material produced on film in the last twenty years (about 1000 reels).