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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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For Love of the Game: 1912

For Love of the Game: 1912

1912. "Football, Costello; Georgetown-Virginia game." Costello seems to be having a pretty good time. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Final Score

I looked up this game in the Virginia football media guide. Georgetown won the 1912 game at home by a score of 16-13.

Georgetown and Virginia played 16 times between 1889 and 1913. The final record was 7 wins, 7 losses and 2 ties.

Who Knew?

They used to do overhead bicycle kicks in American Football?

Rubber or Metal?

Please tell me that those cleats are made out of rubber?! Can you imagine being run over by those cleats if they were made out of metal?

Technical Achievement

This is a wonderful example of a stop-action photograph, made in an era when such things were generally thought impossible to do. Before the 1930s, photo emulsions -- the light sensitive chemistry applied to glass plates or film -- were 'slow', meaning that you either had to have enormously high light levels or your subject had to remain relatively still. Compounding the problem were lens optics that were not terribly efficient at gathering up what light was available. Yet, here we have a photo that shows very little blurring and is on a par with that seen in Sports Illustrated. Kudos!

[That's a perception maybe encouraged by historical accounts of daguerreotype studios using neck braces on portrait-sitters to allow for two-minute exposures. But 60 years later in 1912, improved emulsions allowed for shutter speeds of hundredths of a second even on inexpensive cameras. There are hundreds of stop-action sports photos from the 1910s and 20s in the LOC archive, mainly the National Photo and Bain collections. Below, another photo from the Georgetown game. These were made using 5x7 plates. I think probably the most challenging part of photography like this would have been bulk -- the heavy camera, and glass-plate boxes that weighed 5 or 10 pounds -- and what must have been the cumbersome process of changing the plates for each exposure. It would be interesting to see an account of what that was like. - Dave]


That's a good shot of Charlie Brown — where's Lucy?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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