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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Haunted House: 1908

Haunted House: 1908

House Chamber of the Capitol circa 1908, with a quorum of ghosts in this time exposure. View full size. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

Up In Smoke

In the days of indoor smoking, most white surfaces quickly turned yellow with nicotine from the burning tobacco. Odds are pretty heavily in favor of those desks down below having ashtrays.

Dark Stars

Since early (before orthochromatic and panchromatic) emulsions see only blue light, things that are blue are rendered lighter. The opposite color of blue is yellow which shows dark since it's the absence of blue.

If the stars material had yellowed or was a warm, yellowish white like a cream color, that would show up as dark.

So, yellowish stars on a blue background become dark stars on a light background.

Dark Star

Is it some odd effect of the photography process (as with the oranges a few pix back) that makes the flag appear to have dark stars on a light background?

Also, the star pattern appears to be that for the 45-star flag (used 1896-1908), rather than the 46-star flag (1908-1912) or 48-star flag (1912-1959).

[Good eye. You're right about the date. Now changed to circa 1908 instead of circa 1913. As for the stars looking darker than their background, that's a good question. The emulsion on 19th-century glass negatives showed blues much lighter than later panchromatic emulsions, but that wouldn't explain the dark stars. - Dave]

 
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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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