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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Be My Guest: 1944

Be My Guest: 1944

March 1944. Two guests at a St. Patrick's Day party at the Washington Labor Canteen sponsored by the United Federal Workers of America. View full size. Medium-format safety negative by Joseph Horne, Office of War Information.

 

Pete and El: 1944

Pete and El: 1944

February 1944. The folk singer Pete Seeger entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt, honored guest at a Valentine's Day party to mark the opening of the United Federal Labor Canteen in Washington. View full size. Medium-format safety negative by Joseph Horne for the Office of War Information.

 

Marie Smith: 1920

Marie Smith: 1920

Washington, D.C., 1920. "Miss Marie Smith." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative, one of five photos of Marie and her pup.

 

Good Will Drinking: 1924

Good Will Drinking: 1924

August 1, 1924. Vicinity of Washington, D.C. "Camp Good Will." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

 

Up on the Roof: 1941

Up on the Roof: 1941

December 1941. Bird's eye view of San Juan, Puerto Rico. View full size. Medium format Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. Who can identify the building? Alternate version of this shot.

 

Lights Out: 1914

Lights Out: 1914

January 9, 1914. Men's dormitory at the New York Municipal Lodging House. View full size. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

The Comforts of Home: 1861

The Comforts of Home: 1861

From 1861, a second look at these Northern infantry campers -- and our first glimpse of their puppy. "District of Columbia. Tent life of the 31st (later, 82nd) Pennsylvania Infantry at Queen's Farm, vicinity of Fort Slocum." View full size. Wet-plate glass negative, left half of stereo pair, photographer unknown. This has a lot in common with the pictures Dorothea Lange would be taking 75 years later of Dust Bowl migrants in the agricultural tent camps of California.

Library of Congress annotation: Princess Agnes Salm-Salm, wife of Prince Felix of Prussia, who served with the Union Army, observed in January 1862 that the winter camp of the Army of the Potomac was "teeming with women." Some wives insisted on staying with their husbands, which may have been the case with this woman, judging by her housewifely pose alongside a soldier, three young children, and a puppy. In addition to taking care of her own family, she may have worked as a camp laundress or nurse. Some women who lacked the marital voucher of respectability were presumed to be prostitutes and were periodically ordered out of camp. Only gradually during the four years of the war, and in the face of unspeakable suffering, were women grudgingly accepted by military officials and the general public in the new public role of nurse.

 
 
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