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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 • TAKE A KODAK, c. 1930s

By the Seashore: 1905

By the Seashore: 1905

Ocean Grove, New Jersey, circa 1905. "Ross's Pavilion and beach." Desperately awaiting the invention of the beach towel. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Not a laughing matter

No smiling women because they are anticipating laundry day.

Fingernail boy

He may be having an "aw shucks" moment as he chats with the girl to the left.

Guy on far right

sure is enjoying his fingernails!

Woman smiling!

Rarity of rarities - I see a 1905 woman actually smiling! To the bottom left of the life guard stand. Nice smile.

African American

By my count, this is around the third of the Jersey Shore beach scenes showing black folks.

Speaking fo easily amused

Check out the guy standing on the extreme right: "I have FANTASTIC fingernails!"

Grim

The guy sunning himself in the foreground in the middle right looks like a dead body.

The beginning of the end

Near the girl struggling to carry the baby with the huge head, there on the sand, LITTER! This may be the first litter on the beach ever caught by a camera.

If looks could kill

The guy in the lower left center turned and looking menacingly at the camera. Hang on to your women and children.

Saw this on Digg!

A blog had stolen your wonderful work, so I just wanted to say I appreciate what you're doing here. I'm going to come back here frequently, I'm just such a sucker for old-time photography!

-Chicago resident

Head Shot

I can't focus on the pavilion, the water, the people or the sand. I'm obsessed with the image of the girl doing her best to carry the the big baby with the HUGE head.

Easily amused?

Don't forget, in those days, people worked so hard that they appreciated the simpler things, rather than being easily amused. And, don't forget, we enjoy the ability to hop in our car (or jump on a bus, train, or plane) and whisk ourselves off to some distant destination in a matter of minutes or hours. We have the money and leisure-time that our grandparents couldn't have imagined (between world wars and depressions). let alone enjoyed.

A day at the beach would be the equivalent of a Caribbean cruise to a family at the turn of the last century.

Not without expectations

Yes, it seems to be a time when folks were easily amused. Nevertheless, I do get the feeling that the gang up in the Peanut Gallery wouldn't mind a good old-fashioned shark attack to liven things up a bit.

 
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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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