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.
Vintage photos of:
Equestrian signalman on the New York Central's Eleventh Avenue freight line circa 1911. In a 1930 article on the West Side tracks' demise, the New York Times wrote of the "eight men and twenty-four horses comprising the famous 'cowboy troop' [or 'West Side Cowboys'] whose function it has been for years to ride ahead of the puffing locomotives as they wheeled along Death Avenue." The dangerous street-level tracks were eventually replaced by a 1½-mile viaduct, the High Line, that after decades of abandonment is being turned into a long, thin elevated park. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.
A detailed circa 1910 Manhattan streetscape of rail cars at West 26th Street and Eleventh Avenue, known as "Death Avenue" for the many pedestrians killed along the New York Central's freight line there. View full size. Removal of the street-level tracks commenced on December 31, 1929. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Update: Click here for the largest version.
Columbus, Georgia. April 1913. "Night Work! Group of boys, all working in Massey Hosiery Mills. Most of them had been working all day and had an hour for supper and were going back into the mill (6 p.m.) to work until 8 as they have done several nights this week and for some time past. I found four 10-year-olds and several of 11 and 12 working in the evening after supper and they said it was a regular thing. Ferrell Butler, 10 yrs old, 1114 21st St., been working off and on one year. Marvin Williams, 11 yrs. old been working one year part of the time at night. Lawrence Webb, 12 yrs. Old. Jack Wright, 15 yrs. working three yrs., couldn't write his own name." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.