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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

The White Family: 1913

The White Family: 1913

1913. "The Clarence White family in Maine. Mrs. Clarence White, seated by window in light, her husband and three sons in sailor outfits standing around her." 8x10 dry plate glass negative by Gertrude Käsebier. View full size.

 

Tour de Force

Besides its artistic excellence, this photo is a technical achievement. Keeping the fully sunlit exterior in balance with the much dimmer interior, without obvious manipulation, is quite difficult, even today.

The Whites' Sons

All three of Clarence H. and Jane Felix White's sons went on to creative careers. The oldest, Lewis Felix White (1895-1967), seen here between his brothers, became a book designer, typographer, and photographer, and was the founder and head of L. F. White Company, Inc., a small printing company based in New York City. Maynard Pressley White (1896-1961), far right, obtained his doctorate and became a widely respected petroleum geologist and paleontologist. The youngest, Clarence Hudson White, Jr. (1907-1978), in the doorway, succeeded his father as Director of the White School of Photography in New York City, worked during World War II as a photographer and photography instructor for the Manhattan Project in New Mexico and in the Pacific, and later founded the important Photography program at Ohio University.

"Sunshine in the House"

The Library of Congress photo collection has an original platinum exhibition print of this photograph, signed in the lower right corner by Gertrude Käsebier, who evidently titled the shot "Sunshine in the House." Interestingly, that print is reversed from the example seen here, with the parents on the right and the sons on the left. The LOC also includes the detail that the house in Maine was that of F. Holland Day, another influential "pictorialist" photographer and a close friend of both White and Käsebier.

Clarence White

Clarence White was a master photographer, as was Gertrude Kasebier. His wife was Jane Felix.

Hah

I wonder what the chances of getting your two teenage sons to wear matching sailor suits would be in this day and age?

Very nice

It's so unusual to see an interior shot in such a "candid" situation done with available light AND be shot with an 8x10 camera....wow! Beautiful.

In the Spirit of Norman Rockwell

Had Rockwell been painting for the Saturday Evening Post in 1913, this would've been an ideal subject for one of its covers. The backlighting on the young lad's blond hair makes him look absolutely angelic. Belated kudos to Gertrude.

I'd go back to live in those times in a heartbeat.

Beautiful!

This photo looks like a painting! And the youngest boy has such a happy grin. Though the picture is obviously posed, his smile is so authentic.

 
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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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