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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

An Evil Smell: 1938

An Evil Smell: 1938

Summer 1938. Hamburger stand at the Buckeye Lake amusement park near Columbus. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn, who goes on to describe the place: "Buckeye Lake is the weekend and summer months resort for all of central Ohio. Its patrons are clerks, Columbus politicians, laborers, businessmen, droves of high school and college students. The rich occupy one side of the lake, the rest rent cottages on the other side. It has an evil reputation and an evil smell. It has furnished Columbus and the neighboring small towns and cities with dancing, cottaging, swimming, etc. for several generations. This is the most unsavory place the photographer ran across in Ohio." But how are the hot dogs?

 

Liquor Beer Wines Gin: 1938

Liquor Beer Wines Gin: 1938

Summer 1938. Newark, Ohio. "Boy in front of liquor store." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration.

 

How to Make a Hairbrush: 1912

How to Make a Hairbrush: 1912

6 p.m., January 31, 1912. "Making hair-brushes. Hausner family, 310 East 71st Street, New York. Frank is 6 years old and John is 12. The mother had a sore throat and wore a great rag wrapped around it, but she took it off for the photo. They said they all (including the 6 yr old) worked until 10 p.m. when busy. Their neighbor corroborated this. She said, 'It's a whole lot better for the boys than doin' nothin'.' The mother said the night work hurts their eyes and John said so too. He was not very enthusiastic about the beauties of work. All together, they make about $2 a week. Father is a motorman." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

More Art: 1919

More Art: 1919

Arthur Fields, singer and composer ("Abba Dabba Honeymoon"), and family washing their Stutz in 1919. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

Arthur Fields: 1920

Arthur Fields: 1920

The vaudevillian, singer and composer Arthur Fields (Abe Finkelstein) circa 1920. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

Pie Town Singers: 1940

Pie Town Singers: 1940

October 1940. Pie Town schoolchildren in a community musical program. 35mm Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee. View full size. Another view is here.

 

Berrien County: 1940

Berrien County: 1940

July 1940. Migrant camp at a fruit-packing plant in Berrien County, Michigan. (On the car: yet another Shell Oil license-plate ornament.) View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration.

 
 
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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