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.
Vintage photos of:
April 1913. Columbus, Georgia. "Eagle and Phoenix Mill. A 'dinner-toter' waiting for the gate to open. This is carried on more in Columbus than in any other city I know, and by smaller children. Many of them are paid by the week for doing it, and carry sometimes 10 or more meals a day. They go around in the mill, often help tend to the machines, which often run at noon, and so learn the work. A teacher told me the mothers expect the children to learn this way, long before they are of proper age." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
"The Works Progress Administration in Ohio presents the Federal Theatre for youth in 'A Christmas Carol.'" This poster for the Federal Theatre Project presentation of "A Christmas Carol" was created between 1936 and 1941.
View full size | Vintage Christmas Photos
January 1912, New York City. View full size. To the untrained observer this might be a pleasant domestic scene; to the eye (and lens) of social reformer Lewis Hine, however, it is a diorama of decadence and moral decay, with peril lurking in every detail. The object of his ire here is the use of child labor in tenement home work, specifically the assembly of artificial flowers: "Julin, a 6-year-old child, making pansies for her neighbors on top floor (Gatto), 106 Thompson St. They said she does this every day, 'but not all day.' A growler and dirty beer glasses in the window, unwashed dishes on the stove, clothes everywhere, and flowers likewise." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. (NB: Growler = beer pitcher.)
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. "Start of a glide; Wilbur in motion at left holding one end of glider (rebuilt with single vertical rudder), Orville lying prone in machine, and Dan Tate at right." October 10, 1902. 5x7 dry-plate glass negative attributed to the Wright Brothers. View full size.
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. "Start of a glide; Wilbur in motion at left holding one end of glider (rebuilt with single vertical rudder), Orville lying prone in machine, and Dan Tate at right." October 10, 1902. 5x7 dry-plate glass negative attributed to the Wright Brothers. View full size. This is a detail from the post above.