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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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American Idyll: 1905

American Idyll: 1905

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1905. "Bridge in the woods, Belle Isle Park." 8x10 dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Sunday in...

My first thought when seeing this was also of La Grande Jatte, and as our theater just produced "Sunday in the Park With George," I had a few images that seemed almost to fit:

Wonderful period piece

I love the hats everyone is wearing, and they are all dressed to the nines! thanks for the opportunity to look in on this time out of time.


So they already had power poles and power lines running in the woods in 1905? Who knew?

[Believe it or not, people had telephones, telegraphs and electric power in 1905. Also in 1900, 1895, 1890 ... - Dave]

The fashions

Are fun to look at but I'm amazed at how much clothing people had to wear back then, even in warm weather.

Postcard croppage

You assume that the editing was done for "racist" reasons. But if the kid had been left in, the result would have been a disembodied head at the bottom of the card -- certainly not appealing to any buyer no matter what the race. In addition, the two black kids on the opposite bank were not edited out.

Not Quite Picture Perfect ...

The post card is from the very SAME photograph, but notice the little black boy, right front, has been retouched out! Too late to bring it to the attention of the folks back in the day!

Seurat Indeed

Same thought, Dahlia. In fact, I had just mentioned that on Shorpy's Facebook Wall.

Bad habits

What stands out is the litter and here I thought society of the past was more respectful of their surroundings. Guess not!

La Grande Jatte

Beautiful. This instantly reminded me of Seurat's Grande Jatte:

Postcards from the Past

Picture perfect.

Under the Elms

This picture just breaks my heart. The elms are gone, the canoes are gone but I do notice that the littering had already begun.


If you look closely, perhaps you can see little Norman on the bank perfecting the scene in his mind and then painting it as is.


Another gem designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Pretty place.

A few trash barrels would help the scenery even more.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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