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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 • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

War and Peace: 1865

War and Peace: 1865

May 1865. "Another artillery unit passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury." Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady. View full size.

 

Glass Plate Photography

Photos of this era are all "wet plate", a lengthy process in which the plate is coated with a chemical called a colloid, then placed in a light-proof holder for use in the camera. After exposure it must be developed before drying. Lots of info online. Sounds like a fascinating craft for someone with time and an interest in exacting hobbies. After around 1880 "dry plate" came in (thanks partly to George Eastman) and you could buy your plates ready- made and develop at your leisure.

Apug

You can likely find more information than you ever thought possible at http://www.apug.org
That's the Analog Photography Users Group and there are a lot of people doing "old school" photography.

Aha

Streetcars. Thanks for the info. Your knowledge is so helpful in understanding the contents of these amazing photos.

Glass Plates

Does anyone know anything about developing glass plate negatives?

The Rails

Those two sets of rails we see in the street...would some Shorpy history expert be able to say what ran on them? And it appears the rails themselves have an unusual design compared to a common railroad track. An no apparent rail ties underneath would indicate whatever rolled on those tracks couldn't have been too heavy.

[Those are streetcar tracks. - Dave]

It's so strange

to think my great-great grandpa could be in that crowd. I would love to find a picture of him during that time.

Victory Parade

This is the victory parade of the Union Army. Three days of parading and festivities marked the end of the Civil War. I've seen a picture of the official reviewing stand with President Johnson, General Grant, and other notables. The stand was decorated with the names of battles.

 
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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