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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

American Gothic: 1940

American Gothic: 1940

Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts. December 1940. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size. These houses, which look to have been built in the 1890s, must have been imposing in their day. Note the elaborate woodwork and intricate system of gutters and downspouts.

 

Cue boiling oil

This reminds me of the Charles Addams cartoons from the old New Yorker magazine. Just needs a punch line.

Details

The kid all the way to the right is clearly some sort of weisenheimer. Looks like he's adopting a purposely artificial pose or something. There is another little kid peering out the window all the way to the left. Little boys have been playing in dirt, as evidenced by the lovingly molded dirt mound replete with tunnel for the toy truck to drive through. There is an old can, perhaps for a game of kick the can...? It must have been around Christmastime, as there are wreaths in the windows. The proud fellow in the red and black jacket could be Terry Malloy in another fourteen years. Love that there is a sense of love and protection coming from the parents. I get the idea that though the kids didn't have much they knew they were cared for and didn't feel sorry for themselves. Thanks for indulging my ruminations and thank you for this gorgeous website. I love it to bits and pieces.

Red Ryder

This look like a scene from the film "A Christmas Story".

My House

I lived in a house like this one in the 50's but it wasn't in Massachusetts. They tore it down and built a hospital which greatly distressed me. I hate it when old houses die.

side by side

this house appears to be a duplex

a lovecraftian setting

a lovecraftian setting

The House

I am totally in love with this house..I just can NOT get enough of these incredible colour pictures of the 40's. I think they appear to have better quality than the photos of today. I'd so love to live in this era.

life of luxury

They don't have grass in the front yard, the computer inside never locks up, no one is distracted by the cell phone. and if they had food everyone sat down at the same table at the same time and ate together....they discussed life and were tough as nails...if they hadn't been, we wouldn't be here...And you hadn't better say anything bad about the country or you were in a fight.

American Gothic

Just wanted to say how much I appreciate someone sharing these awesome pictures with the rest of the world.

Thanks!

American Gothic

hard working people doing the best they could.

american gothic? more like

american gothic? more like the Addams family if you ask me.

 
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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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