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:
A real neat barroom scene. Think of the pictures they would show at the start of the TV show "Cheers." This is from the collection of Charles Gallienne, my wife's great-grandfather. Is this Liverpool or is this southern Alabama? Help!
Shorpy is a year old today! Thanks to the many thousands of visitors and commenters and contributors who have helped make this Web site the remarkable place that it is. And of course we wouldn't be here without the efforts of the photographers whose pictures appear here, and the conservators and archivists who have preserved their work and made it available online through the Library of Congress. This might also be a good time to reflect on the life of our namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham, whose likeness animates these pages and spirit inhabits them. And now on with the show. Only a zillion more pictures to go . . .
Back in the '50s we didn't have too much indoor entertainment. Electricity was just being introduced where we lived and only for lighting. Before that, kerosene lanterns were the only reading lights after dark. So daytime was spent hanging out with the neighbour kids. Money was tight, clothes didn't match. Nobobdy cared. I'm in the back, the oldest kid. If you look to the left you'll see a man sharpening his Swede saw on his porch. At this time, power saws were two man machines. The carburetor was primitive and so those heavy powered saws required a tiltable bar as the saw would not run on its side. Very few people could afford one anyway, so the Swede saw was the usual means of cutting trees down and into usable lengths for firewood.
My father worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and when we moved from Ontario backwoods to the City of Trail, we rented a railway house between the tracks and the Cominco smelter. Our front yard was the parking lot and our back was the railway tracks. The trains shuttling ore passed so close that I could hand the engineer a magazine from our upstairs window. It was difficult to sleep the first few days in the city, but after a week the engines passing by our window didn't disturb us one wink. This was a time of tension with the USSR and I believe we were one of the targets of the Soviets. At the time, Cominco was the largest non-ferrous smelter in the world, providing zinc and aluminum to the free market. The smelter still stands but our old residence is gone. Good riddance. View full size.