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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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Got Bread?

Got Bread?

Bread peddlers, East Side Manhattan circa 1915. View full size. 5x7 glass negative. George Grantham Bain Collection.

Ah! that explains it.

Thanks. The mystery is solved.


"Pre-flash" was an old technique of slightly fogging the film in an attempt to soften the image. It predates flash photography.

Re: Solarize / preflash

The solarized-looking areas are places where the thickest parts of the emulsion are deteriorating, getting darker and flaking on the glass negative, possibly due to mold. On the positive when the image is inverted, the effect is a white outline. There was no flash used. And no film, either.


The out of focus images of a few people in the background look almost solarized. Can anyone explain this effect. Could it be an artifact of pre-flashing the film?

Fresh bread

Imagine trying to sell bread like this today, I think the board of health would be shocked

Secret Agent Man

I love the guy peeking around the corner!!

[Also note the kid on roller skates! - Dave]

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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