SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Reaper

The Reaper

A young woman models in a studio for photographer Fitz W. Guerin. No date is recorded with the photo, but it was probably taken around 1902. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Reaper

This reminds me of a Godward painting. Beautiful.

Nervous Hospital

...looks like she's had plenty o' biscuits with mustard.

Sharp Dresser

Some people call it a sling blade, I call it a kaiser blade.

The Sash

So, how did the photographer make the ends of the sash float up in the air like that? A fan? But nothing else looks blown. It was wired up in some way? It was on a table that was later processed out of the image somehow? And, you have to love the tulle hanging down her back off the head piece. Just what I'm sure every reaper had in her closet. Makes her less grim, though.

Scythes and Sickles

A scythe is the tool carried by the grim reaper. A sickle is one the two tools (the other, a hammer) symbolizing the former Soviet Union. Both were equally scary thoughts in my youth.


I guess that would be an Italian machete.


Actually, we called it a sickle when I was a boy. Used it for whacking weeds in the corn rows, where you needed some control so you didn't take out the cornstalks.

A scythe is a big two-handed tool with a curved blade, used to cut big swaths of wheat or alfalfa. I never could get the one we had to work for me, but I either didn't have enough strength or my blade was too dull. Besides, Dad harvested that stuff with a toothy blade on the tractor.


this is a cool picture :)
rah! i am women with mashetti! leave me alone! :)

[Mashetti? And I was thinking that was a scythe! - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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