In 1846, the Historische Verein (Historical Association of Upper Bavaria) von Oberbayern started to create a systematic portrait collection (drawings and prints). It was divided into:
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the association in May 1863, the then first chairman Friedrich Hektor Graf Hundt (1809-1881) announced that the portrait collection would in future be supplemented by photographs. He thus opened up a very modern, future-oriented perspective. The approach testifies both to the enthusiasm of those responsible for the new medium and to the fact that Munich - alongside Paris and London - was a centre of early photography.
Initially, an album with carte de visite portraits of members of the association and of "personalities not belonging to the association" was created. Soon, however, the association also came by photos of other formats and subjects.
Meanwhile, the Historischer Verein's portrait collection comprises around 3,000 motifs. Although the focus of the collection is on the nineteenth century, it also contains numerous exemplars from earlier centuries. Particularly noteworthy are works by Tobias Stimmer (1539-1584), by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) and by Dominicus Custos (1559/60-1612) as well as a large number of mezzotints from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.