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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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On the Ground: 1942

On the Ground: 1942

May 1942. "Running up a barrage balloon. Scene at the U.S. Marine Corps glider detachment training camp at Parris Island, South Carolina." Photo by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.



Till I saw Perpster's comment I assumed the shadow at left center was a partially inflated balloon, and the upturned sacks surrounding the Marine handler were the ballast sandbags like you would use with a manned balloon. However, that shadow is definitely human-shaped on closer view, and that just makes the entire operation hard to understand.

If the sacks are deflated balloons, where are the manifold and hoses for inflating them? The handler has his arms outstretched like he's signaling someone we can't see or about to pick up one of the sacks. This one could use comments from someone who has actually deployed barrage balloons -- I know what they look like when they are airborne, but they were way before my time.

[The balloons were bigger than a breadbox. - Dave]

Photographer at 12 O'Clock High

Looks like the photographer was up in the lines and caught his own shadow in the picture. It appears to have been taken around noon.

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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