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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 Great Race: 1908

The Great Race: 1908

February 12, 1908. "Scarfoglio and companions in Zust car, New York," at the start of the New York to Paris automobile race of 1908, in which the contestants drove west across the continent to San Francisco, continued to Alaska by ship, took a steamer across the Bering Strait and continued the land journey in Siberia. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Below, the competition itinerary as printed in the January 26, 1908, New York Times.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Monty Python

The driver looks like Graham Chapman of Monty Python: "...ello, ello, ello! What's all this then?"

2 more hours down the drain

Just finished Link 1 to old cars and don't know whether to thank you or curse you. Once in, I couldn't stop. Thanks for the wonderful distractions you so often provide.

Back from the Dead

More on the Zust and its restoration:

Link 1

Link 2

New York to Paris

In 1908 automobiles were unreliable in every respect, especially the tires. There probably weren't any suitable maps even across the US lower 48, not to mention Alaska. As far as I know, there are no roads from Fairbanks to Nome today.

The Siberian leg of this would be tough even today; and in 1908 they would have had to stage their own gasoline and other mechanical necessities. Those things would have to be hauled in by rail where it existed, otherwise by horses. The route description just blithely mentions Irkutsk then Moscow. This was a massive undertaking.

The Italian team

The three in the picture would have been the Italian team: Antonio Scarfoglio (a reporter for Il Mattino, at the wheel), Giulio Sirtori (main driver), and Heinrich Haaga (the mechanic).

I love this photo, the look on their faces and most of all, those awesome coats. I want that look for me.

Zust driver

What a combination of confidence in the face of risk and derring-do.

Great Race Documentary

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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