Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.
Vintage photos of:
Unknown building, unknown town. Anybody recognize it? View full size.
Well, it's vacation time, and what better destination than the beach in 1960? My brother snapped me and his Cal Poly college chum Bob (who you may recall from Christmas Special) along the Russian River at Guernewood Park, California in July of that year, just one month before my 14th birthday. I believe my exceptionally stylish swim trunks are 1940s vintage hand-me-downs from my father. Hair by beach towel. 35mm Kodacolor negative. View full size.
Photo of my great-great-grandfather, Charles Cunningham, and great uncle. (I think it's Charley Cunningham, though no one remembered to note names on the old photos.) My guess is that this dates from the teens and was taken somewhere in Northern California. I'll guess that Charley is a Boy Scout, but I'll bet someone else can identify the uniform better.
Charley's family lived in the South-of-Market area of San Francisco, but after getting chased out by the Great Earthquake and Fire, moved up to Vallejo to live with the grandparents until the city rebuilt. They ended up in the Mission and finally Castro District of San Francisco back when those neighborhoods were solidly Irish.
Charles emigrated from Ireland in the 1860's, so he must have shook his head at how different life was for his grandchildren in the modern United States. Everyone looks upstanding and proper here, but I've got another photo of Charles and his wife laughing as they try not to fall out of a hammock. Even Victorian-era grandparents laughed and acted silly. View full size.
As far as I know, this is a photo of the crew at the Blacksmith Shops for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Oakland, California. My grandfather (front and center with the rakishly tilted hat) worked for the railroad for some small portion of his life. His draft card for World War I listed him at the railroad in the blacksmith shop. By the '30's, he'd started a laundry business elsewhere in Oakland.
He'd emigrated from the Azore Islands to California in around 1915, following other brothers and sisters who'd already left the impoverished islands for the opportunity of the United States. I can't imagine he was too many years off the boat when this photo was taken, a new immigrant settling into life in California.
I've always liked this, both as a cool posed shot of an industrial shop and by the tools of the trade each worker carries (especially the welder to the far left). Unlike all the school photos that got saved, it's like every guy in the photo has some emotion on his face, and some story behind it. Why's the big guy at the right side in the front row look like a superhero, so sure and happy? What's the Richard Gere look-alike (the welder) thinking? What's the guy second from the left in the front row staring at off in the distance? View full size.
Another from my grandmother's collection. Not sure who they are, looks like was taken early 1910's. I like the hats on both these guys. View full size.
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Connoisseur, bon vivant, raconteur, collector of first editions, advertising executive, typography historian, WWII Army Air Corps Photo Recon NCO, and my mother's twin brother, Uncle Albert hoists a Christmas toast in the living room of his San Francisco home in December 1960. You can tell it's Christmas by the holly in the table vase and the star ornament sticking up from the areca on the right; that's his Christmas tree. I took this with my Brownie Starmite. Full size.