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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

N and Union: 1942

N and Union: 1942

Shulman's Market at N and Union Streets SW, Washington. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Louise Rosskam. We've gotten a lot of inquiries asking: Why do you colorize the photos? The answer is: They are not colorized. These photographs were taken on Kodachrome film, invented waaay back in the 1930s. Color photography in general goes back more than 100 years.

 

Herb's Market

I was born in D.C. 1941 and grew up living over my dad's grocery store, a DGS: Herb's Market, 621 Seventh Street N.E., between F and G.

Any photos around besides my few taken with my Brownie Hawkeye?

Buddy Shulman the owner of the store in the photograph, was a "cousin" of my mother, or a relative of Buddy's. Also, I think related to Max Shulman.

Love these Old DC photos.

Love these Old DC photos. This one's getting close to the neighborhood of my great-great grandparents. They lived there in the 1870's - early 1900's. I'm looking for photos during that period in the vicinity of 1513 Half St., SW, 1506 First St., SW; 1342 & 1346 Half St. SE; 62 N. St., SE? My G-G-Grandmother, Mary E. Hunt and Sons Wallace and Newton Cornwell bought property between Half & 1st. Sts, and M & N Sts. SE. and had a brick making business there. My G-G grandparents James & Isabella Storey lived on the SW side of Half Sts. Their daughter Jane and Newton Cornwell married. They are my G-grandparents. We had know idea of them or where they lived until I recently started researching our family tree. Anyone who can help, my email is: ae-mitchell@hotmail.com. I love this site!

New Excitement

Seeing these pictures of N and Union Streets has brought out a whole new range of excitement for my family. We were raised on N Street, at that corner, and spent all the wartime years living there, through all the blackouts and air raid drills, and day-to-day living. We got groceries at that store, played street football on that corner, played Kick the Can on those sidewalks, and lived harmoniously in the racially mixed neighborhood, not realizing at the time just how "rich" we really were. Thanks a million for producing those pictures.

Color Film from Kodak

Kodak's new color film for home photographers was first displayed and demonstrated, but not sold, in the "Palace of Photography" at the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego. It went on the market the following year. More than 400 natural color film processes were patented, and many of them marketed to the public, from the 1890s through the early 1930s, before Kodachrome dominated the market with its superior quality and relative ease of processing at Kodak labs.

So little has changed.

It's amazing, some of DC still looks so close to this that I could almost imagine this photo being taken today. In fact, I'm almost up for going to that corner to see if those building still stand. Even the painted blue is the same color you see almost everywhere today.

[Good luck finding that intersection. - Dave]

Colorized?

Why would people think that these were colorized? seriously, how dumb can you get? XD

So vibrant back then; I love the little boy just wandering about...

Rationing sticker

The windshield has a gas rationing sticker, the letter "A" on the passenger side. That was the basic gas allowance, "B", "C", etc, allowed more gasoline to be purchased by the car owner. I believe the "A" allowance was 5 gallons a week and ration stamps were required.

Pictures in the window

Not sure about old Adolph in the window of Shulman's Market, but I do recognize Il Duce - Benito Mussolini on the left side. Maybe and advertisement for some magazine or some sort of patriotic screed against the various "rats" the US was now at war with.

Soaped Windows

Looks like they "soaped" the car windows, too. Although it appears they used paraffin wax, not soap. It came in blocks and was used to seal the top of jams & jellies. Doesn't come off with water - you have to use gas or kerosene, or a razor blade. Kids caught doing this when I was young got the "pleasure" of removing it, too (not that I have any personal experience or anything... ;^)

And is that a picture of Hitler in the window?

The Car

You have the age right, make wrong. It's a 1931 Chevrolet. Wonderful shot, Shorpy!

Old color photos

This is such a magnificent photograph. I remember, as a child, assuming the whole world was colorless, since all the"old" photos I saw were b/w.

Here is a link to WW-I color photos, they are incredible.

http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

The car

The car in this picture, a Model A Ford, is 10 to 12 years old.

N and Union: 1942

Wonderful shot. Colourised? Colorized? I sincerely doubt that anyone has that degree of virtuosity, although Photoshop ace Tom Maroudas comes pretty close. (See http://precodecinema.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html and http://precodecinema.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html for details.)

I remember reading an article by Andreas Feininger about the super qualities of Kodachrome when it was 10 ASA (ISO) and came in 8" X 10" format. Apparently, he took some Kodachrome pictures in that format back in 1937, and once developed he put them in a drawer in his darkroom where it was permanently dark and arid. In the '80s he was cleaning out his darkroom and found the perfectly preserved pictures is the same condition as they were over forty years before. The colours were vivid and the contrast had not changed. Amazing film. I hope that the digital medium can come within hailing distance of this marvelous film. (And as an advocate of digital, I am not holding my breath.)

Very nice scene

Nice, very nice shot. It's amazing how the image is sharp. How is the photographer that took it?

[Louise Rosskam died in 2003 at the age of 93 - Dave]

Color Pictures in 1942

At the date of this picture, color was widely available but was a premium process that was expensive. But if you've ever seen naval war footage of 1942 it's mostly in color because the Navy began using it, interestingly the Army in Europe didn't.

What short memories we have

Does anyone remember that The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939? The first movie shot in color was The Gulf Between (1917).

Graffiti

Someone soaped the windows -- scribbled on them with a bar of soap. What kids did back before spray paint. And thanks -- Shorpy loves you too!

Colors are

Colors are gorgeous!

Interesting to see the graffiti scratched into the store window. A store in this same location today would likely have the same vandalism.

Love Shorpy! An everyday stop for me now.

My God, I can't get over the

My God, I can't get over the quality of these....I don't think I've ever seen any color photos this old look as good as these do. If the year hadn't been posted, I would've thought these were taken on some recent movie set or whathaveyou. Absolutely gorgeous!

James clerk Maxwell

I read an account that maxwell stumbled into and 'lost' an apparent color process. Sorry it's an unsourced and unqualified assertion; i cannot remember where i saw that.. :( but that there is surviving examples

Love the car

Another great picture. Interesting to see how worn the car is.

By the way, do you have Prince Albert in a can? Then you better let him out!

colorized??

I'm sorry, anyone thinking the color shots have been "colorized" must have issues with their vision.

You do understand though, this is not 2042. I'm just sayin'...."Shorpy - The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog" and all...not that I mind the color or the more "recent" pictures. They are all fascinating. Long live Shorpy!

Thanks for the color!

Never mind the color naysayers. The color photos are amazing. Keep 'em coming! :-)

 
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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