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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

White Hunter: 1900

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White Hunter: 1900

Circa 1900s. "Billy and his mistress in hunting poses." One of eight curious portraits of this statuesque pair, who appear almost whitewashed. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Oh Shoot!

She's wearing shot shells on her belt, but that weapon looks to be a breech loading 44-40 or there about. I guess artistic license prevailed.

30 seconds with Photoshop

A quick Photoshop paintbucket tool job.

Can't wait for the other seven

I find Mistress quite shapely and appealing.

"On the Trail"

I wonder if the attached image is a finished card from the same series? There are some strong similarities, but also a good bit of artistic license.

[Similar theme, but not the same series of pictures. Also a different model. - Dave]

That's why all the white

>> My guess is that the backdrop will be masked out, and that the end product is in color

That's why everything's white -- it makes it easier for the colorist to get the colors right. It's an early version of "green screen."

Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the colorized version. It will probably be an advertising poster, but might be a postcard.

[Okay everyone. Start looking! eBay might be a good place to begin. I agree that what we are seeing here is one of the steps in what would come to be known as photomechanical color or process color. - Dave]

Here Snowball,

You can go chew on this G4 phone. I can't figure it out. It will be much easier to have a good stiff drink and then just send a telegram.

Where's Groucho?

Looks like Harpo before the harp. Or maybe that's what's in the flask.

Camouflage

Must be winter!

In The Olden Days

Was it normal to appear ridiculous?

WTH?

Now why would the photographer compose the picture to include the ratty, tattered end of his ripped backdrop cloth? Even cropping tight wouldn't disguise all of it. Those things are supposed to be seamless, and without holes.

[My guess is that the backdrop will be masked out, and that the end product is in color. - Dave]

All in the family

I'm sure both of them are related to Oscar Wilde.

 
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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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