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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 • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

Foundling Hospital: 1921

Foundling Hospital: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Foundling Hospital, playroom." Tots at the Washington Asylum for Foundlings, 1715 15th Street N.W., with their benefactor Lt. George Pickett 3rd. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Bowl cut

Funny how that unisex bowl haircut has been in and out of style so many times over the years. The kid second from the right could've just as easily been photographed in the 1950s, the '70s or even today.

A picture of hope

A common theme in most Shorpy pictures of the "underprivileged" or "disadvantaged," or the generally very poor, is that there was no cynicism about having aspirations to better your lot. When and why did simple reportage become voyeurism? Contemporary pictures from Romanian orphanages, etc., just feel prurient. This picture is optimistic, isn't it? Or is it just the passage of time.

Foundlings and Orphans

It's interesting that many cities had both foundling homes and orphanages. Maybe because the kids in orphanages could be of any age, but the foundling tots were babies and toddlers. Once they reached a certain age, were they sent off to the orphanage?

Distressed child

That's because the terror to her left took her doll. The kid on top with the man is playing it smart.

If Shorpy had an annual award

for Best Comment Title, I would nominate "Charge of the Tyke Brigade."

Humor being more important than history, it would surely beat out, the more apt: "Pickett's Charges"

Charge of the Tyke Brigade

George E. Pickett III was the grandson of the Civil War general of Pickett's Charge fame. It looks like he is wearing a short platform or stilt.

http://www.pickettsociety.com/perpetuity.html

I love this picture

Although the teeter-totter [You mean the slide? Or the rocker-thing? - Dave] looks far from safe and that child in the back of the line looks extremely distressed, I love everything that is happening in this picture. The child three back on the slide looks almost exactly like I did when I was little.

And is that man's right leg shorter than his other? What is he standing on?

Babes in Baskets

I didn't know what a foundling was, and I know everything. "An abandoned child of unknown parentage." Now I know more than everything.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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