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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 • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Party of Four: 1956

Party of Four: 1956

As a follow-up to yesterday's Pastel Princesses we present a retinue of possible Princes, or maybe court jesters, at what looks like the same event. Live it up while you can, boys. 35mm Kodachrome from the "Linda" slides. View full size.

Fuggedaboutit!

My first (and second) thought on this photo is that it looks like some of the gang from "The Sopranos". It's a little before their time, but I still see it every time I look at this photo.

More color Kodachromes!!!

I love the 100 year old b/w photos, but the color Kodachromes make Shorpy a much more "thrilling" site for so many more people. Keep them coming...even up to the 70's & 80's. They are necessary to keep Shorpy relevant to a larger population of internet users.

Ceiling on the wall

It's a heavily-textured wallpaper known as Lincrusta or Anaglypta. It's sturdy stuff and can hold up well under layers of paint. If we knew where this building is located, we might learn how well it holds up under layers of hair tonic.

These old Kodachromes

I like that they've been included. My parents would have been approximately this age in the early fifties and I enjoy seeing what life was like in a unrehearsed kind of way.

Ma!

Have you seen my red socks? I'm late for the dance!!!

Everybody and their uncles

"The thrill is gone" was recorded by mostly every pop and jazz singer in that era. Julie London, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme and on and on. (I don't think Michael Bolton has recorded it yet but he probably will...I'm kidding about M.B.) Critics like to give him a hard time, so I'm piling on too.

No spring chicken?

Orange56, I sincerely hope you don't feel "over the hill" at mid-30's! Chris Albertson has a little fewer years on me, than I do on you; you've got a long way to go, youngster!

Not diminished at all

I love this site and don't see the inclusion of Kodachromes as diminishing it at all! Keep up the great work!

As per Chris Albertson

Not to jump on the wagon or anything, but I have just now joined the site after a year or so of browsing to offer the following comment: not all of your viewers are camera aficionados steeped in the history of photography or, dare I say it, of an older generation. I am no spring chicken, having been born in the late 1970s, but almost every single photograph on here predates me and I learn from and enjoy seeing all of them, family Kodachrome snapshots included.

Is That a Ceiling on the Wall?

I guess the tin fits everywhere kind of like this mix of photos fits throughout Shorpy. I enjoy all the ages presented especially if you can see that other generations were just as squirrelly as mine no matter what the social norm.

Re: Lincrusta. Thanks Mattie, that's interesting and makes sense. Cheaper than wood molding and less fragile than formed plaster. I think it does need a paint adhesion inspection if possible.

Charming and unique

That's what the guy third from left believes about his choice in socks.

Ashtray

Underneath guy on right, with smoldering cigarette. (Hey, they're not in the main hall but in the shenanigans room. There's one in every building when you're a teenager.)

Regardless

Of the photo, black and white or superb color, recent or ancient, they are glimpses into our past and help us visualize, if only for a moment, what life was like back then. And in some cases, see ourselves as we were. Love to know where those stairs went up to, obviously some sort of service stair based on appearance, why was the access open to them. This band of merry makers look like they'd be just the ones to sneak up and create a ruckus.

The overwhelming response to my post

is appreciated, but it also made me sort of analyze my own expressed opinion.

I think it boils down to the fact that I have so many family Kodachromes of my own and such snapshots are readily found on the internet. Shorpy's more regular fare, those wonderful old photos and the remarkable clarity achieved by tterrance and crew are not as easily Googled and rarely presented with such sharp details. Then, too, I am 81 and a jazz historian, jaded by having hundreds of photos around the apartment.candid shots from the 50s on up bring back memories to me, but not the discovery that makes Shorpy so speciale. So, I guess I have been spoiled by the delights of Shorpy. I still love this site and recommend it (one of my two blogs has had a Shorpy link for three years).

Thank you all for the comments and thank you tterrance for the site and this forum. I hope I haven't been too disruptive.

P.S. Yes, AuntieVi, BB King certainly made "The Thrill is Gone" his own and turned it into a hit. I heard Billie sing it in person, but I don't think she recorded it.

No Smoking?

But there appears to be a pack of smokes on the ledge of that little window.

Also, count me in as one who really enjoys this type of photograph, then again I collect other peoples old home movies so I'm biased.

These are every bit as interesting as the LOC type of photo and probably a more realistic slice of Vintage American life since many of the LOC pictures are staged to some extent.

I can see what Chris is saying

I think the Kodachromes are either hit or miss. Some I enjoy while others (the majority) I could do without. But I don't run the site and I can't complain if I don't find a particular image interesting because there are more than enough images on here to keep my occupied.

The site as a whole is really unique. And one should keep in mind that "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder. Ergo, an image that might delight one viewer is sure to bore another.

100 years from now

these sort of photos will be just as fascinating to people as any of the older, more "serious" examples on Shorpy. Every moment is history as soon as it passes. How lucky we are that occasionally, someone catches it on film, or video, even digitally. It's all wonderful and so is Shorpy!

Wider vision

I am one of the many who finds that "the charm and uniqueness of Shorpy" is in no way diminished by the inclusion of photos from family collections of the past 50 years. Considering Shorpy as the place of photos only a century old, or exclusively black and white, is an unnecessary limitation. It's much easier to see it as repository of so much more. Broaden the vision, Chris Albertson, and let yourself settle comfortably into the range and variety of what Shorpy has to offer. It won't hurt a bit.

Diminished? Not at all.

I think these Kodachromes are as valuable to Shorpy as all the other historical pictures. Where else do you see unknown people, photographed by unknown photographers, in unknown places, and hope that there will be the one comment:

"OMG that's me taken by my uncle Bill at our junior sock hop."

It will happen.

re: charm and uniqueness

I have to disagree. I love the family pics. Sometimes I find the Dorothea Lange types depressing.

Also, Did Billie Holiday sing "The Thrill Is Gone"? I always thought it was BB King's song, didn't realize it was a cover.

Charming

I actually do enjoy the family snapshots. It's great fun to look at what people were doing in their everyday lives. Shorpy has it all!

Interesting comment Chris,

Hi Chris,

As a genealogist and family historian, I found over the last few years that Shorpy was an invaluable historic resource for my research. Sure, i would "surf" anonymously but that was that; got my info and off I went. But some days I would just look 'into' places. Literally, zoom up and into the lives of the residents of the cities and neighborhoods featured here. I just couldn't believe where these images would lead me. The most interesting stories and facts and especially the comments. Regular folks, not necessarily experts, just interesting folks. It was these "folks" who drew my attention more and more. I agree that historic and/or "slices in time or life" images seem to be the most engaging, but these Kodachromes are most definitely part of photographic history. They are indeed unique imagery. They are historic AND deteriorating very quickly in drawers, closet shelves, carousels buried in garages and scattered in boxes in attics around the world. When one of these gorgeous images is posted and you begin to read the story and see the real living color of a time gone-by and the comments pour in and you peek at the numbers and see thousands (!!) of "reads", well you gotta feel some excitement and thrill of the "get". Just figuring out the puzzle of a time and day just out of memory or reach for many of us, or the makeup of an interesting family from New England, well it's like a treasure hunt. And aren't those so much fun? It is admittedly a great and grand waste of time I suppose, but most certainly, the best fun since Facebook launched 9 years ago, and quite possibly new beginnings for these images and their owners. For me and my extended family, sharing our Kodachromes is a tribute to the family members (many already gone) who took the time to lug a bulky, clunky, camera around and set up and snap a pic for us all to enjoy just a couple of times on the dining room wall. Now we are really enjoying them again, along with a surprisingly large number of people. It just feels wonderful. I hope you will continue to enjoy the historic quality of these beautiful images as well as the amazing resources from the LOC and Detroit Publishing etc... But please most of all, I hope that you also appreciate the men and women that are working literally 24/7 on Shorpy.com (not to mention all those folks sitting at home, eyes glued to the screen, mouse at the ready) bringing these images to us all day and all night. They ARE Shorpy.

Regards, Deborah

The enrichment of Shorpy

Chris Albertson, a couple of years ago, I had the same opinion that you have now. I became annoyed by the postings of tterrance, but still maintained my daily visits. I am just 3 years younger than you, and have slowly realized that these more modern pictures are part of Shorpy's growth and our own past. Let's hope that some viewers will put names to some of these eBay finds. Respectfully, Urcunina

My wife would tan my hide!

Red socks, especially with blue slacks? I would never live that down.

As for the inclusion of family Kodachrome slides, I enjoy them. The reason I like Shorpy is because it gives a glimpse of times past. Sometimes the family photos do a better job than some of the sterile professional photos.

Love It All

I love seeing these smiling boys who seemed to have left their dance dates to wonder where they went.

I'm a fan of every genre of Shorpy pic. Yes, I'm partial to ones showing old houses because we're restoring a Victorian and become enthused over clapboard, millwork, and knob and tube wiring, but I like the other pictures, too.

Pocket square

If only we could see what those blue and white ticket/program things are in both of these pictures. At first I thought it was the same guy but they have different ties (and ears!). I love these candid snapshots.

[He might be the boy with his back to the camera in the other photo. - Dave]

You may not be alone

In your finding your viewing pleasure diminished, but I'm sure that you are outnumbered 1000 to 1.

I think these two last dance photos show the old saying to be true. Girls mature faster than boys. And not just physically.

The charm and uniqueness

of Shorpy is, in my opinion, somewhat diminished by the inclusion of family Kodachrome snapshots. I still make my daily visits, but—as Billie used to sing—the thrill is gone. Am I alone in thinking so?

A little dab'll do ya

Check out the hair tonic stain on the walls.

The Cast of "Diner"

The Early Years.

 
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