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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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Mineral County Coal Miners

Mineral County Coal Miners

My great-grandfather's mining crew circa 1915 in Mineral County, West Virginia. His name was Thompson Metcalf, and he is in the front row, crouched just to the right of the coal car tracks. The young boy in front of him was my great-uncle "Metty." Thompson died in the flu epidemic of 1918. My grandfather gave me the carbide lamp that Thompson wore. It appears they all had their lamps lit for the photo. They even included the most valuable members of the crew (at least to the mine owners). Some mine owners were of the opinion that "If you lose a man, there is always another one ready to take his place, but if you lose a pony or mule, you must BUY another one". This crew worked the mines in the Beryl, West Virginia area.

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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