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 1958, my older brother's second birthday. Octopus (no: I'm emending this to Humpty Dumpty) cake, with cousins surrounding. Folksy decor. Is the folksiness peculiar to my parents, who were international folk dancers? Or was it generally popular in that era? Bow ties. Kodachrome, taken on Minolta A range-finder. I've also posted a picture from his birthday a year earlier. View full size.
New Orleans circa 1890. "The Clay Monument, Canal Street." Fascinating details abound in this scene captured by William Henry Jackson: The 1-horsepower horsecar, the ancient carbon-arc lamp suspended from a complicated-looking boom, and much signage. Personal favorites: WIG MANUFACTORY, and logo of the ETV&G (East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia) Railway. View full size.
The Jersey Shore circa 1920. "Atlantic City Boardwalk and New Garden Pier." An apt seaside metaphor might be the billboard as a sort of terrestrial barnacle, encrusting every available surface with ads for yarn, hair nets, cough drops and typewriters. 5x7 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.