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:
March 22, 1948. The New York City Public Market at First Avenue and East 73rd Street (?), an example of the food market in transition. A typical 19th-century market would have many separate vendors in an open-air space like a town square. By the early 1900s the open-air space had given way to separate vendors under a large shed roof with no walls, often near the train station. Here in 1948 the space is enclosed, but still with separate vendors (greengrocer, butcher, dry goods, fishmonger etc.). After the introduction of centralized distribution and self-service for the various product categories, the individual vendors fade from the scene and the market has a new name: "super-market," now spelled without the hyphen. View full size. 5x7 safety negative by Gottscho-Schleisner.
November 1908: Gastonia, North Carolina. Lacy, 12 years old, and Savannah, 11. Have worked two years. Father said "The little one is a crackerjack on spinnin', at least so the boss says. She ain't satisfied unless in the mill. The oldest one isn't so good at it. Not as quick." (Note the tense, serious looks on the younger. Older one more like a real girl.) View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
March 1942. "George Carell's seven-year-old son George Jr. likes to watch his father produce essential war equipment in his Passaic, New Jersey, home workshop. Mr. Carell belongs to a subcontract pool organized by the Howe Machinery Company." View full size. 5x7 negative by Howard Liberman.