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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Before and After: 1918

Before and After: 1918

New York. October 5, 1918. "Army students' quarters, Columbia University." 5x7 glass negatives, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

The shape of things that were

No shape - it was just a result of mind-wandering. They are probably students in the Student Army Training Corps. I believe in some universities, every student was required to be a member. These men are, or would soon be Doughboys and could have participated in some of those creative works of Mole & Thomas.

Mole & Thomas

This reminded me of the Mole & Thomas photographs of military personnel in shapes of the Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, etc. I've seen a few, but never up close. Do you have any to post on your site?

[I have seen them, but only as low-resolution images in the LOC archive. So what are our Army-Columbia boys in the shape of? - Dave]

You stand here, the water goes there

My urologist has a device that looks very much like that bowl-and-pail stand that the two men are leaning over.

[Also known as a washstand. - Dave]

Waterboarding

Is this some kind of early extended isolation experiment, shot through a peephole?

The two guys on the right are very snuggly together.

Question

Yes, but WHAT exactly are they doing? Anyone?

[Baffling, isn't it. - Dave]

Sleepover!

And in the third frame, they're eating S'mores and painting their toenails.

Shoes

After seeing so many pictures like this from many 80-90 years ago, I'm struck most frequently by the style and construction of men's shoes. What they wore then would seem to be snug and well-fitting, given the number of lace eyelets, and maybe they were sturdy, given that they were leather — but if you suddenly wanted to run someplace, it seems like you'd be terribly hampered by their stiffness and the slick soles. It makes me want to go back in time and give all the lads pairs of Nikes, Adidas, etc. (Thank you for reading my odd musing...)

A slippery slope

This is how Leopold and Loeb got started.

 
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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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