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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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Postal Boys: 1911

Postal Boys: 1911

June 1911. Norfolk, Virginia. "A typical group of Postal Messengers. Smallest on left end, Wilmore Johnson, been there one year. Works days only. The Postal boys are not nearly so young in Norfolk and also in other Virginia cities as are the Western Union boys." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


Adams Etc

Adams Express, American Express, Southern Express and a few others were merged into the Railway Express Company (REA) in 1917. The Feds needed to control the railways for the WW1 emergency. It was accomplished by the United States Railway Administration (USRA) to assure that that the Rail Systems operated efficiently during wartime. Railway Express was with us until 1975 when it went out of business. The Interstate Highway System became their downfall when UPS et al went into the over the road delivery business.

The kid on the left

The look on his face tells me that the bike frame just might be causing him a wee bit of discomfort.

Perhaps he is telling Hines to "Hurry up and take the picture.....this is killing me!"

A grand old name

Adams Express continues in business today. Like other express companies of past centuries, such as American Express and Wells Fargo, their principle business became financial services.

recycled board racers?

Except for the center bike with the auto horn and spring seat, these bikes look like they had earlier been board track racers.
Bare bones frame with serrated metal pedals, smooth tires, sans chain guard and rigid racing seats. Just reset the handlebars downward to racing position. Tuck in, and ride like the wind.

Real fixies without brakes?

Although the coaster brake was invented a little more than ten years before this picture was taken, they weren't ubiquitous yet, but the second bike from the right does appear to have some kind of band on the left rear stay, possibly to secure a torque arm...

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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