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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Addams Family Birdhouse: 1908

Addams Family Birdhouse: 1908

Philadelphia circa 1908. "Dormitories, University of Pennsylvania." Extracurricular highlights include the gargling goose, an impressive carbon-arc streetlight and of course the Second Empire birdhouse with a little mansard roof. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Feed the birds, Lurch

Who else to feed the birds in the Addams Family birdhouse? And he wouldn't even need a ladder, either.

Look!

It's Charlie Chaplin!

[I have another theory. - Dave]

Timeless Design

I refer, of course, to the mailbox on the corner; the basic lines of which are still the same today.

Squirrels coming in the window

The open windows remind me of a story from when I was a Penn undergrad: The IT department had been getting numerous complaints from laptop owners in the Quad, whose computers suddenly went on the fritz. It turned out that squirrels had been entering the open windows via tree branches and peeing on the warm keyboards.

From the Daily Pennsylvanian:

Engineering freshman Neel Gowdar said squirrels have been frequent visitors to his room on the third floor of Ware College House. He has woken up to find a squirrel sitting on his bed on more than one occasion, and a squirrel has even had a conversation with his friends through the Internet.

"I went to take a shower and the window was open. ... When I came back, I saw a squirrel leap off my desk," Gowdar said. The squirrel had apparently been sitting on his keyboard gnawing through a bag of chips, and "somehow managed to press enter" after typing a jumble of letters and a long line of zeros into a text box.

Hardy har

I see Stan, but where is Ollie?

Chimneys

What a great chimney; artistry in masonry indeed. Try that on your post-moderne house. Few could duplicate that work today.

Ware is still there

I think the Ware Building is still there on Spruce Street, still used as a dormitory. What a magnificent edifice.

Cereal is served

Milk in the window, at last! Seems it's been awhile since I was last able to find it perched outside one of these great old shots. It's just to the left above the fantastic birdhouse on a little ledge. Today, I don't think it's milk that is hoarded in dorms, but maybe I'm just a bit jaded.

Secret bottles

I wonder what's in those bottles on the sill outside the east-facing window in the tower? I can imagine: "Quick! My parents are coming! Put the liquor out the window!"

At least that's what I would have done.

The Bloody Dormitory

The Jacobean richness of Penn's Ware College House Dormitory does little to offset its surely-not-accidental resemblance to the Tower of London (below). On the order of the Anglican Bishop of London, William Penn was imprisoned without trial in the Bloody Tower for seven months in 1668-1669, for refusing to recant his questioning of Roman Catholic/Anglican beliefs about the Holy Trinity. Do students and faculty at Penn remember this bit of trivia today, and does it inspire appropriately nerdish jokes about the Dorm Experience?

All the options

I see Mr Bird's house is fully optioned with electricity but could do with some nice wicker chairs for the verandah. Nice to see that the swan cares about oral hygiene.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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