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:
Me, approx. age 2 in 1957, Laurel, Mississippi. The Masonite plant looms in the background. View full size.
This may have been an entry for a promotional contest held by Hance Bros. & White in the fall of 1894. The Grand Prize was $1000. 5x8 glass negative. View full size.
This is my dad, John Balvin in 1949 during the Berlin Airlift. I love this shot. It looks so "Hollywood." Great light. Great man. I don' know who took it or what format. I just love it. View full size.
1932. Wertz Field, just outside Charleston, W.Va., served as its airport long before Kanawha (now Yeager) was built. My uncle Oral Hamrick is standing with arms folded in front of his plane, "National Commander." The owner, Louis Johnson, was Secretary of War during WWII. Six months after this photo was taken, Oral was killed when the plane crashed in a snowstorm. View full size.
Luna Park in Charleston, West Virginia, around 1915. There were many Luna Parks in the U.S., the most famous at Coney Island in New York. This photo is believed to have been taken on the Fourth of July, due to the dress of some of the people (like Uncle Sam). The Park, like many Luna Parks of the day burned down, and was never replaced. The strange streets that are still in use to this very day in Charleston where Luna park stood, are a direct reflection of the walkways there. Today, hundreds of homes sit in its place. Original photo by Cochrane. View full size.
Stewart's Root Beer stand on Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston, West Virginia. Fifth girl from the left is my Aunt Doris at 15 years of age. This drive-in was very popular in its day. Later a Shoney's would be built here, and then a Captain D's. View full size.
My in-laws loved to travel, usually in California. This was the Sequoia National Park stop for the Tracy family's summer vacation of 1953. My father-in-law would have set the camera on a rock or a log, set the timer, and hustled to get into the picture. To this day my wife and I (she's the littlest one in the picture) still love to sit next to streams and watch them flow by. Photo by M. Tracy. View full size.