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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 • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Tremont Street, 3:15 p.m.

Tremont Street, 3:15 p.m.

January 23, 1917. Boston, Massachusetts. "G. Leahy, 1249 Cambridge Street. Messenger for Metropolitan Messenger and Mailing Co., 67 Bromfield Street. Said 14 years old. Gets $5 a week wages, and makes $2.50 a week in tips. Taken at 3:15 p.m. on Tremont Street." View full size. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 

Mass. dealer plate

The suffix "E" indicates the fifth plate issued to dealer No. 2.

MA Plates

If you move to Massachusetts, you too could have a two or three digit license plate.

Many "low number" license plates are still in circulation there, and they have become status symbols. A few are well known and have remained in the same hands for decades (the plates belonging to senior religious or governmental officials, or a few wealthy families). Others circulate, and are available by lottery.

License plate

Three digits. Talk about an early adopter!

Messenger Boy

$7.50 a week was good money for a 14-year old in 1917 and probably more than many adults earned. Today it would be equivalent to about $125 according to the Federal Reserve Consumer Price Index calculator for the comparative value of a dollar. This boy was probably proud to be able to help his family financially.

 
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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