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About the Photos

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 TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Rear Window: 1935

Rear Window: 1935

September 1935. Washington, D.C. "Negro back yards near Capitol." A back alley view of some F Street tenements that are an interesting mix of appalling and appealing. 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans. View full size.

 

Outdoor privies

In David Brinkley's excellent book, "Washington Goes to War", about his time in DC during WW II, he points out that at the beginning of the war there were something like 17,000 homes in the capital that still had outdoor plumbing.

I get the appalling part

But where is the "appealing"? Was there even indoor plumbing?

Dad-burned young whippersnapper!

Note what looks like the remains of a tricycle on the roof. Some grandfather probably threw it there after a nasty trip coming out of the house.

 
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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