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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Beach Party: 1945

Beach Party: 1945

On Saipan in the Mariana Islands during WWII. 1945. View full size.

Going Home

Karl Shapiro wrote poems even while slogging through the South Pacific, and that poetry won prizes back home. This photo, and the comments, make me think of three of his "going home" poems published in 1947: "Homecoming," "The Voyage," and "Demobilization." Here are the first lines of "Homecoming":

Lost in the vastness of the void Pacific
My thousand days of exile, pain,
Bid me farewell. Gone is the Southern Cross
To her own sky, fallen a continent
Under the wave, dissolved the bitterest isles
In their salt element,
And here upon the deck the mist encloses
My smile that would light up all darkness
And ask forgiveness of the things that thrust
Shame and all death on millions and on me.

Blatz Pilsener

It looks like they are drinking Blatz.

Cone Top Cans

The men were enjoying their beverages in heavy aluminum cone top cans. By the early '60s, they were replaced by lighter pull top cans, which were replaced again by the stay tab we know today.

Smiles tip off

Judging by the big grins, this must be after Japan capitulated. A few weeks before, these guys thought they were going to fight their way across the Japanese mainland. Instead, most are going home.

Victory at Sea

Man, I can just hear "Under the Southern Cross," or better yet, the beginning section of "The Pacific Boils Over" from Richard Rodgers' score playing right now. No, wait; maybe "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" from that other little thing he wrote.

 
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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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