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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

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November 1937. "Street scene, Washington, D.C. Proprietor of a tombstone shop." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the FSA.

 

Alright nobody move!

Who stole my finial?

Graveyard Shift

I love this photo. Beautiful composition. The man looks wise - I don't think you'd find him as creepy if he was working in a grocery or a haberdashery. Those in the death professions suffer from the worst stigma.

A Radio Character

For some reason this picture reminds me of the character Digby O'Dell "the friendly undertaker" from the old "Life of Riley" radio show (and the original TV version, starring Jackie Gleason). "Digger (as Riley called him) was always given lines like "Business is a little dead tonight," which sounds innocuous enough unless you hear actor John Brown deliver the line in with his own inflections and emphasis. Then it became comedy gold.

Tombstone shop

If ever a guy was born for his profession here he is, what a great photo. I love the shadows and the whole eerie feeling to it.

Mr. Tombstone

I thought that this had to be a scene from a movie, such a strong photograph. I bit of Lee Marvin about the guy too.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | 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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