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.
Vintage photos of:
Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Firestone 3,000-mile tires." Presumably after those grueling 3K miles. View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. I like the shadows and detail here. Old-school photography combined with digital processing can produce some striking results.
If a single photo could capture 1970s Northern California culture, this might be it. The hair; the clothes; the round oak table; the funky old apartment with painted-over wainscoting; the giant bowl of sangria. I ought to know, I was there. In fact, there I am, at the left, at my brother's Santa Cruz place with his wife (lower left) and their friends in October 1973. My brother's Ektachrome slide. View full size.
"Summer camps." Circa 1914, in or around Washington, D.C. One of about a dozen photos showing group campsites in the woods, some with a fanciful name posted on a sign or banner: Klassy Kamp, Kamp Komfort, Camp Vagabond, Tak It Ezy, G. Whiz Canoe Club. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.
Unless you happened to live in one of those fancy kitchen decor ads like you see over on Plan59.com, your 1964 kitchen might be like ours, a mixture of stuff from the 50s (1955 O'Keefe & Merritt gas range), 40s (sink, cabinets & fixtures from a 1946 remodel) and even the 30s (the copper tea kettle). A package of meat is defrosting on the griddle, which was always a little warm from its pilot light. My Kodachrome slide. View full size.