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:
New York, December 1911. "143 Hudson Street, ground floor. Mrs. Salvia; Joe, 10 years old; Josephine, 14 years old; Camille, 7 years old. Picking nuts in a dirty tenement home. The bag of cracked nuts (on chair) had been standing open all day waiting for the children to get home from school. The mangy cat (under table) roamed about over everything. Baby is sleeping in the dark inner bedroom (three yrs. old)." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.
July 1938. Sorting tobacco on the porch near Near Douglas, Georgia. The program to eliminate the risk and uncertainty of a one-crop system meets the approval of this sharecropper: "You don't have to worriate so much and you've got time to raise somp'n to eat." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.
May 14, 1862. Cumberland Landing, Virginia. "Group of contrabands [runaway slaves] at Foller's house." Photographs from the main Eastern theater of war: The Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862. Wet-plate glass negative, half of stereograph pair. View full size. Photograph by James F. Gibson (b. 1828).