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About the Photos

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 • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Ninth and G: 1919

Ninth and G: 1919

Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Ninth and G Streets." With a view of the U.S. Patent Office. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Dental progress

The dentist above the cigar store reminded me of my first visit to our family dentist around 1960 -- Dr. Sertle. He was nearing retirement, and didn't want to invest in any of that newfangled equipment. He had a foot-operated drill, which probably was painful even when it was new. But to compound the situation, with the getting on in age, he developed arthritis in his knee. This caused him to vary the speed of the drill, since his knee probably gave out years before, and then the drill would slow down and then speed up, all the while grinding at your poor teeth, with them hollering louder than the dentist's knee. I didn't go to a dentist until I got married at 22 and had almost as many cavities. The trauma of the foot operated drill strongly entrenched fear of dentist in my mind.

Fallen Snow

The snow's a lady and like others of her sex, though delightful in her fall (to those that enjoy her) is apt to be a bit depressing once she has fallen.

-- John Collier, in "His Monkey Wife"

Rough looking building

The building in the foreground appears to have been built in 1912, a mere 7 years before the photo was made. Yet it seems awfully shabby for such a new building - stains and dirt all over the sides of the structure. Maybe in the early 1900s the soot and dirt were a real menace.

Inside the Window

We have previously seen the interior of the Dr. Johnston's dental office here. ("The Coolest Dental Office In Washington") The lettering in the window matches perfectly. Dave, can you tell from the LOC numbers if this exterior photo may have been commonissioned by Dr. Johnston?

Old Patent Office

Is that columned building now the National Portrait Gallery?

[It is. - Dave]

Get the drift

There is nothing more unsightly than than the fallen snow on a city street a day or two after it has fallen.

GO GO

I like the STOP & GO semaphore.

Traffic police officers operated semaphores and early traffic lights by hand. City officials didn't think drivers would obey the signals otherwise. The traffic officers judged the traffic and decided when to change the signal. To alert traffic that the signal was about to change, they blew a whistle.

Besides cars and trucks, traffic included street cars and horse-drawn vehicles. With all this traffic, one problem that officers had was being able to see and be seen by drivers, especially at congested intersections.

Mailbox on Corner

All these years later, there is still a mailbox on that corner, of course not the same one. There are two now, and that's the one I use in the morning on my way to work, when exiting the Gallery Place Metro station entrance to the left of the photo. Nice to think that for generations people have mailed letters on that corner, it's a pleasant bit of continuity among all the change in the area.

Details, details

I love the details in the store front. A photo taken like that nowadays is deleted as soon as it hits the screen.

United Cigar Store

Love the Lucky Strike signs in the cigar store window. I had no idea the "It's Toasted" slogan, or the brand for that matter, was so old.

Too late

I'd wager they are out of the 1920 World Almanac; that could have come in handy.

 
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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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