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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 • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Incarcerated: 1919

Incarcerated: 1919

1919. "District of Columbia. Various views at D.C. Jail." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Incredible.

Looking into the eyes of the person on the right is very moving. Almost makes your soul shift with sadness.

Powerful

When I saw this, my eyes immediately teared. This is one of the most powerful and poignant photos I have ever seen, especially on Shorpy. I have been following Shorpy for about two years now. Amazing.

Fashions in prison

Women's prison garb has never been particularly attractive. Here's Belva Annan in 1924. You've never heard of her? She was the most famous murderess of 1924 and her trial was the basis of the musical "Chicago."

Can't stop looking at this.

I just stare while my mind imagines (or tries to) the sad possibilities. Very moving.

Cruel shoes

This is one of the sadder photos I've seen on here. I wonder what heinous crimes these two were accused of. The shoes they are wearing are definitely a crime. The woman with the book, her shoes are too small, and the other woman's shoes are way too big.

Figures

How many jailhouse photos have you shown featuring white people? I don't ever remember seeing any.

[Then you're not looking (or remembering) very hard. - Dave]

In two years plus

This is the first time Shorpy has made me cry.

Contrasts

Wow. What an interesting juxtaposition between this picture and the previous post, "White Wedding."

Which is it?

These are either faces of dignity under persecution or faces of the totally reprobate. I am glad I am not their judge.

Afterimage

I will be seeing these two people in my mind for the rest of my life.

Separate but Equal?

I'll bet white women in the D.C. jail for similar offenses probably had better shoes.

 
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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