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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Dormitory: 1909

Dormitory: 1909

February 1909. Men's dormitory at the New York municipal lodging house. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

Fascinating Light Fixtures

Any information on them?

Hine Bio

This is Joe Manning. The best three books I've read on Hine so far are:

"Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor," by Russell Freedman and Lewis Hine

"America and Lewis Hine: Photographs, 1904-1940," by Walter Rosenblum, Alan Trachtenberg, Naomi Rosenblum, and Marvin Israel

"Lewis Hine in Europe: The Lost Photographs," by Daile Kaplan

Hine Bio

I saw an excellent documentary last week on the Documentary channel called "America and Lewis Hine." It is being rebroadcast on 03/18/08, 04/02/08, 04/03/08, and probably more, because they replay programs often: http://www.documentarychannel.com/schedule/index.php

NYTimes review.

And there is a VHS copy for sale on Amazon.

Too bad I'm posting this relative to someone else's photo.

Faux Pas

I neglected to mention Joe Manning! And here I am asking about Lewis Hine... duh.

Thanks, Joe.

Ikea for the Itinerant

The Dormitory is a remarkable foreshadowing of the Minimalist aesthetic and a number of other 20th century design trends.

On another note, let's not be dissing LWH, people. You would surely be forgiven if you found his work just a trifle tendentious and I, for one, am not overly fond of didactic art, but Hine clearly had another agenda and art was probably just an incidental. I don't know to what degree Hine considered himself an artist (or not), but it seems clear that his commitment to documenting child labor was nothing short of heroic. By way of illustration, the inquisitive may wish to have a look here.

Dave (or any of you kids in the peanut gallery), do you happen to know of a good biography of Hine? I think it would be difficult to spend any time around Shorpy and not be at least mildly curious about the man.

On a more general note, there is not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate the efforts of the photographers whose work populates these pages and the yeoman service done by Dave and Ken and such others as may populate the Shorpy ranks. The work done in presenting these photos (choice, editing, captioning, &c.) is the very definition of 'value added'. The window that this site provides on the past is of incalculable value. As some of the Anonymous (and otherwise, myself included) Tipsters continually demonstrate, we need a lot of help in seeing past our 21st century prejudices.

Paging Lewis Hine

Well, the place looks immaculately clean. Lewis Hine would have loved it. Wonder if it smelled like formaldehyde?

Sleep Number

"Any man not in his bunk at eight will spend a night in the box. There is no smoking in prone position in bed. To smoke you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Anyone caught smoking in prone position will spend a night in the box. You get two sheets. Every Saturday you put the clean sheet on the top, the top sheet on the bottom and the bottom sheet you turn in to the Laundry Boy. Any man who turns in the wrong sheet spends a night in the box. No one will sit on the bunks with dirty pants on. Any man sitting on a bunk with dirty pants will spend a night in the box."

- Carr the Floorwalker, "Cool Hand Luke"

 
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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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