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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

The Long Hall: 1908

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The Long Hall: 1908

Circa 1908. "South corridor, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Still Breathtaking

After being defiled by government bureaucrats for several decades, a dozen-year restoration was completed in the late 90's. Once again it is what some have called the most beautiful interior space in the US.

When friends and family ask me for DC sightseeing recommendations, I always put the Library of Congress at the top of the list. Most had never considered it.

What kind of glass?

I'd love to know what kind of lens the photographer had on his camera. He obviously had the camera pointed straight down the hallway, but the detail from floor to ceiling is nice and crisp. (I'm thinking it was an early wide angle lens)

The murals above the doorway, left, and the doorway at the end of the hall are clear enough to make out (even to my tired old eyes) as are the smaller triangular portraits in the groins of the arches above.

I'd love to get back to D.C. and find this hall just to photograph it as it is today with my digital camera and 24mm lens, set to Black and white. Then, I would put the two photos side by side for comparison.

Not Technology

It's not the technology that keeps us from producing architectural beauty of this sort, it is a lack of desire on the part of clients to have such architectural ornateness. Most clients want a utilitarian functionality which means there is no place for "unnecessary" details that might distract workers from their work.

Just as an example the city where I lived is going to build a new art gallery. It is going to be a square soulless box. The architects - who have obviously never heard of the Guggenheim Museum - stated that the building has to be a box because you need flat walls to hang the art on.

Amazing Architecture

We have more technology today, yet we can't seem to produce this kind of architectural beauty.

Hopefully

It hasn't changed, just mellowed with time. Wonderful picture; great details.

 
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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