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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Lux Aeterna: 1865

Lux Aeterna: 1865

April 3, 1865. Petersburg, Virginia. "Dead Confederate soldier in trenches of Fort Mahone." Wet plate glass negative, right half of stereo pair, by Thomas C. Roche. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.

 

What Might Have Been

This young man may have become someone very important to society. Perhaps the children that were never born because he died young would have been important.

When I see photos like this, especially ones very historical, it makes me think of all the possible pasts that could have affected our future.

How many people are killed in wars, people who may have affected our world positively, and may have held the answer to our futures right now? I bet a lot.

Sleep

What a poignant and haunting series of photos. Thank you for posting them.

This photo, to me, is the saddest of them all. The other bodies appear to have been "laid out," so to speak - on their backs, arms folded, etc. They look more like what we're used to seeing of death. This fellow, however, appears to have not yet been touched. Instead, he looks as though he put himself into the fetal position and (hopefully) slipped into a peaceful sleep without too much pain.

Rest in peace, indeed.

 
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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