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.
Vintage photos of:
Circa 1925. "Man pointing at California State Automobile Association signage; woman with pennant reading BOOST THE REDWOOD HIGHWAY." A souvenir from the early days of motoring, when signage was a do-it-yourself affair, with routes marked and mapped by automobile clubs. 6½x8½ inch glass negative originally from the Wyland Stanley collection of San Francisciana. View full size.
From September 1938, a reminder of the days when doing laundry meant hauling water from a well or spigot, then boiling it in a caldron over a fire: "Old and sick, mine foreman's wife does washing in front yard. South Charleston, W.Va." Photo by Marion Post Wolcott for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.
Northern California circa 1927. "California State Automobile Association Official Mechanical, First Aid and Towing Service Station." Offering Emergency Road Service and Red Crown Gasoline. 6½x8½ inch glass negative originally from the Wyland Stanley collection of San Francisciana. View full size.
May 1942. "Southington, Connecticut. Where Southington folk buy their magazines." Photo by Fenno Jacobs for the OWI.
Under the original black-and-white photo, one commenter remarked, "The only thing better than this picture would be to see it in color." This prompted me to start on what eventually became an almost year-long journey of Internet detective work in order to find all the magazines in this shot as they looked in their original colors. Click here to see all the magazine covers I collected. View full size.
March 15, 1917. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "Manley Creasson [Creason], 914 West Sixth Street. Messenger #6, MacKay Telegraph Co. Says he is 14; school records say 13. Says he has steady job -- 'Been a messenger for years. Get $15 for 2 weeks' pay'." Silver gelatin print by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.
Back when Indiana was a Pink State.
September 1952. "Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower campaigning in the Midwest. Includes Eisenhower on a whistle-stop tour, in motorcades and addressing large crowds at political rally in South Bend, Indiana." Large-format color transparency by Charlotte Brooks for the Look magazine assignment "The G.O.P.'s future will be up to Ike." View full size.