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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 • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

Stars and Stripes: 1907

Stars and Stripes: 1907

"District of Columbia. Washington Loan & Trust building." A street scene circa 1907, possibly on Flag Day. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

45 Stars

If my eyes do not deceive me, the flags have 45 stars (8-7-8-7-8-7) which would be before admission of Oklahoma as a state on Nov 16, 1907. (Utah was #45.)

Happy 175th, George?

1907 is too early for Flag Day or Veterans' Day. The heavy overcoats on all make Decoration Day unlikely. It was not an inaugural year. However, Washington's Birthday (celebrated on the real day, Feb. 22) was a big deal back then, especially in the City that bears his name. And since 1907 would have been an especially important one (because it would be the 175th anniversary of his birth), my money is on that.

Speed of Plates and Films

Following up on my own ramblings about stop action photography in the early 20th century I became curious about the speed of glass plates. So I pulled down the 1909 Seneca again to see if it offered any clues and, bonanza, I found a period exposure table from Agfa Inc. Its like a slide rule for daylight exposures complete with “Speeds of Film and Plates” listing the Watk. And H & Dr. ratings of Agfa films and plates. The fastest rated plates were 350, Watk. which is 500 H & Dr. Assuming a bright sunny day I used the calculator to find September at 12 noon and H & Dr. of 500 which gave me a relative light value of 30. Conveniently the table has a setting called “street scenes” that when aligned with 30 relative light value gave me the following exposures: f/4 @ 1/125th of a second, f/8 @ 1/64th, f/16 @ 1/32nd, etc. An exposure of 1/125 would definitely have stopped some action, but f/4 with a 4x5 would have been tricky. Also, using the sunny 16 rule, I figured the plate had an ASA (ISO) of 32. (Figure: 1/ASA @ f/16 is a proper daylight exposure) Slow indeed.

Flag Day?

Flag Day being June 14 would be pretty warm in Washington. This could be Decoration Day, or more likely, Veterans Day in November. Everyone seems to be sporting a nice warm topcoat!

[I live in Washington. Late spring can be quite chilly. - Dave]

Glass Negatives and Exposure Times

Didn't we just have a discussion about the lack of blurry people in movement in glass negatives about two days ago? Yet, here we have them.

[It would depend on the lens, aperture, the emulsion, lighting conditions and of course exposure time. There are no shadows here -- it was overcast. - Dave]

Flag Day

Flag Day wasn't officially established until 1916 by President Wilson, although it was still celebrated in some capacity before then.

Ninth and F

This building was photographed in 1969 for the the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). More photos and information available here. Briefly: located on SW corner of Ninth and F NW . Built in 1891, architect James G. Hill. Addition added in 1926. Personally, I think the building looks much more balanced with the addition.


Washington Loan & Trust building photographed in 1969.

 
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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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