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:
December 1955. Here's our family's entry in the Shorpy Christmas tree sweepstakes. Devoid of any jolly celebrants, unfortunately, but at least we have my mother's curtains and drapes. Many vintage ornaments are in evidence: Santa heads, houses, a table lamp, a mushroom, an angel, a prizefighter, some birds with spun glass or celluloid tailfeathers, and one of my personal favorites, a big one we always called "the stars and stripes forever" on the left a little more than halfway up. Some were from my Mother's family and dated back to the early 1900s, including one that still had wax drippings on it from when you actually lit your tree with candles. On the right, our Motorola hosts the Nativity scene complete with plastic Wise Men. Sharp-eyed observers may note that on the window seat, the fishbowl, vacant a year later, here appears to be inhabited. My brother recorded the available-light exposure details for this Kodachrome slide on the mount: f2.8 @ 1 second, during which he jiggled the camera slightly. View full size.
Oak Park, Illinois, 1952. My grandmother (left), mother (center), and aunts. One of my cousins is leaning against the wall, her feet visible in the lower center of the photo. The occasion was probably a holiday, as the ladies are wearing their Sunday best, and that huge cooking pot had to have held a turkey. My mom, the only adult in the photo who's still with us, thinks it may have been Christmas. 35mm slide. View full size.
Scanned from the original 2.5 x 3.5 inch negative. View full size.
Christmas 1953. Oak Park, Illinois. My cousin Tom experiencing the thrill of his first Lionel electric train. My Uncle Bill is manning the transformer, and my dad, who was a real-life railroad engineer, is on the right. 35mm slide. View full size.
Christmas 1960. "Mrs. McKone, RB-47 wife." John McKone, an Air Force lieutenant whose plane was shot down over the Arctic Ocean by the Russians, came home in January 1961 after six months in Lyubyanka Prison. Blurry but atmospheric Kodachrome by Grey Villet, Life photo archive. View full size.