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:
"Two cats, dressed as humans, holding rope, which doll appears to be skipping." Circa 1914 photograph by Harry Whittier Frees. View full size. More on the strangely unsettling photos of Harry Frees here and here. He often used his own cats, Rags and Fluff, with costumes sewn by his mother.
Preston DeCosta, 15 years old. Messenger #3 for Bellevue Messenger Service in San Antonio, Texas. October 1913. I ran across him while he was carrying notes back and forth between a prostitute in jail and a pimp in the Red Light. He had read all the notes and knew all about them. He was a fine grained adolescent boy. Has been delivering messages and drugs in the Red Light for 6 months and knows the ropes thoroughly. "A lot of these girls are my regular customers. I carry 'em messages and get 'em drinks, drugs, etc. Also go to the bank with money for 'em. If a fellow treats 'em right, they'll call him by number and give him all their work. I got a box full of photos I took of these girls - some of 'em I took in their room." Works until 11 P.M. View full size. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.