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About the Photos

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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Rosie Takes a Break: 1942

Rosie Takes a Break: 1942

October 1942. "Noontime rest for an assembly worker at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company. Nacelle parts for a heavy bomber form the background." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.


Amazing Clarity

Although everyone rightly raves about the colors from these old Kodachromes, what amazes me is the absolute clarity of the pictures even when viewed full size. This is an aspect of the large format (4x5) combined with, I'm sure, some very expensive glass. I can't even imagine what the megapixel equivalent would be, if you could even get this clarity with a digital camera.

I'll second that

"every time you run one of these pictures of women war workers I end up falling in love with women who were born before my 78-year-old mother."

Absolutely. These womenfolk are examples of true, timeless beauty.

The colours

The vibrancy of the colours in this picture are an advertisement for Kodachrome, even if there's been work done on them. The vibrancy of the blues and the reds, not to mention the colour of her blouse - absolutely stunning. And she ain't bad either - every time you run one of these pictures of women war workers I end up falling in love with women who were born before my 78-year-old mother.

The Socks

And I love the red socks! The perfect touch for the photo, just like Nat'l Geographic used to do (still does?), a bit of red in every image.

Is that...

the same girl as in the picture titled "Madonna of the sandbags"?

[It is indeed. - Dave]


After all the comments on differing ideas of feminine beauty, this picture is a stunner! You ought to put it in the pretty girls gallery.

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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