The Shorpy Gallery
 
5000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
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About the Photos

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.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

Lewis Hine

Thompson Street: 1912

Thompson Street: 1912

February 1912. "Rear view of tenement, 134½ Thompson Street, New York City. Makers of artificial flowers live and work here." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Elizabeth Street: 1912

Elizabeth Street: 1912

March 1912. "Row of tenements, 260 to 268 Elizabeth St., New York, in which a great deal of finishing of clothes is carried on." View full size. 268 Elizabeth Street, in Little Italy, is now a "luxe sweater bar" called Sample; 258 (Kips Bay) is a handbag boutique called Token. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 

Cartoners, Eastport: 1911

Cartoners, Eastport: 1911

Some of the cartoners, not the youngest, at Seacoast Canning Co., Factory #2, Eastport, Maine. August 1911. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Dave: 1910

Dave: 1910

Dave, a young "pusher" at Bessie Mine. Jefferson County, Alabama. December 1910. View full size. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 

Bleach Room Boys: 1910

Bleach Room Boys: 1910

Bleach room boys, Pacific Mills. Lawrence, Massachusetts. December 1910. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Shorpy and His Friends

Shorpy and His Friends

December 1910. "Shorpy Higginbotham, an oiler on the tipple at Bessie Mine" -- near Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. Entire uncropped image.

 

Shorpy at Work: 1910

Shorpy at Work: 1910

"A greaser in a Coal Mine. Location: Bessie Mine, Alabama." November 1910. View full size image or view Shorpy even bigger (cropped). This is, as far as we can tell, the first of only four photographs Lewis Wickes Hine took of Shorpy on his visit to the Bessie Mine late in 1910. (The others are here and here and here.) Almost 100 years after being taken, they retain a strange and startling immediacy even though their subject is almost certainly dead. Who were you, Shorpy Higginbotham, and whatever became of you?

What became of Shorpy? Here's a summary of what we think we know, based on research using census and death records, contributed by visitors to this site: Shorpy -- Henry Sharpe Higginbotham -- was born Nov. 23, 1896, in Jefferson County, Alabama, to Phelix Milton Higginbotham and the former Mary Jane Graham. He served in the armed forces during World War I. On Nov. 19, 1927, he married Flora Belle Quinton. On Jan. 25 of the following year he died in a mine accident at the age of 31, crushed by a rock, and was buried in Jefferson County. He became a father, posthumously, when his widow bore his child in the summer of 1928. The writer Joe Manning says he has spoken with Shorpy's son but that he didn't want to talk. You can read more about Joe's report on his Web site.
 
 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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