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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 • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

The Summer of '40

The Summer of '40

From a set of Kodaslide transparencies found in a mailer postmarked 8/12/40; rate was 1½ cents from Rochester, NY (developed by Kodak) to Paul Smiths, NY. The rest of the set is here. View full size.

On a side note

I have not been able to identify the young lady or the child.

You would win that bet.

You would win that bet.

Yachts in the Flickr photoset

I would bet a considerable amount of imaginary money that those wooden sailboats are the 1899-vintage Idem-class sloops of the St. Regis Yacht Club.

All 12 original Idems, plus one launched in 2004, still race at St. Regis. Race 21, apparently the sloop in these photos, presently bears the name MAITA.

Me, minus 30 years to the day

The photos are beautiful, but what jumped right out at me was that they were taken exactly 30 years to the day of my birthday.

I should ask my folks if the weather was as sunny and bright as it was in these pics.

Thanks for posting these.

[That date is when the pictures were mailed, not when they were taken. - Dave]

Miss Kodachrome of 1940

Whose name is on the mailer?

The phrase that comes to mind

...is "sunny disposition."

I wish...

I knew her name, and how her life turned out, the baby's too.
I love these beautiful moments, frozen forever.

Pre-War

YScuba has a good comment, but I'll make one minor correction... In the summer of 1940 the Germans and USSR were still BFFs (on paper anyhow), all in keeping with the Ribbentropp-Molotov Pact of 1939 (which also partitioned Poland between them). Whilst the Germans were running rampant over France, Norway, Denmark, and the BeNeLux countries, the Soviets took the opportunity to occupy and annex Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union didn't happen until June of 1941, about a year later. In 1940, they were still in the halcyon days of their relationship, or so the Soviets thought, anyhow.

War's Eve

France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland were gone. Germany had invaded the USSR. Japan was preparing to attack the US. Already sliding down the abyss and yet the summer light was beautiful. Girls and babies laughed and the elegant wooden yachts slid over the water. There is something immensely poignant and sad about this wonderful series. Thanks for posting them.

 
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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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