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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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Gold Coast: 1905

Gold Coast: 1905

Florida circa 1905. "The beach at Palm Beach." Making a cameo appearance here: our old friend Alligator Joe. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.


A light perambulator, of adult size

Henry James, the great novelist of the American expatriate experience, made a ten-month return visit to the United States in 1904-05 and described his impressions in "The American Scene."

In Chapter 14, he describes tourists at Palm Beach traveling "by means of a light perambulator, of 'adult size,' but constructed of wicker-work, and pendent from a bicycle propelled by a robust negro."

And where were they going? To visit a citrus grove -- or, as James calls, it, a "jungle."

But they never get them wet!

For all that ocean, and all those bathing suits, somebody should be getting wet, yes?


I don't know why half of them aren't dying of heatstroke. Especially the men in dark three-piece suits and hats. And in that salty and sandy environment... makes me itch just to look at them.

[It's winter, or thereabouts. - Dave]

Move along, folks

The crowd down by the water's edge is looking at something. The only thing we can see are the two guys in the rowboat and a few guys between them and the beach. Was something dangerous happening? Or does Alligator Joe have a new exhibit in the water?

CSI Miami - 1905

Someone call Horatio Kane - from the looks of the beach strollers, the remains of a homicide victim have been discovered off the boardwalk behind the wall. It's going to take the whole forensics team and trite dialogue to solve this case.

Finally some African-American faces!

They may not have been permitted on the beach, but at least they got to enjoy the sun and breeze while propping up signs and peddling velocipede-chairs.

Swimming Attire

Is the person to the left of the umbrella actually wearing a tie in the water? I didn't realize Palm Beach was so dressy back when.

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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