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.
My grandmother (second from right) worked as a seamstress her entire life in various Chicago sweatshops. She was born in 1896, two months after her father died, and left school after the 6th grade to help support her mother. I found this photograph (a mounted copy print) and three other similar images, after her death in 1979.
I work as an archivist with vintage photographs every day, but this one really resonates with me, for obvious reasons. View full size.