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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Railroads

Proviso Freight House: 1943

Proviso Freight House: 1943

April 1943. "Chicago & North Western R.R. Tracks leading into the freight house at Proviso yard. This is said to be the largest covered freight house in the world." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the OWI.

 

What a Dump: 1943

What a Dump: 1943

May 1943. Pennsylvania R.R. iron ore docks, Cleveland. "After the ore is weighed in the Hulett unloader it is dropped in the waiting hopper cars below." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the OWI. View full size.

 

Go Ahead: 1943

Go Ahead: 1943

January 1943. Calumet City, Illinois. Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad switchman demonstrating signal with a fusee, used at twilight and dawn, when visibility is poor. This signal means "go ahead." View full size. Caption and 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.

 

On the Road: 1939

On the Road: 1939

February 1939. Calipatria, Imperial Valley. Car on siding across tracks from pea packing plant. Twenty-five year old itinerant, originally from Oregon. "On the road eight years, all over the country, every state in the union, back and forth, pick up a job here and there, traveling all the time." View full size. Medium format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Bensenville: 1943

Bensenville: 1943

May 1943. Bensenville, Illinois. Section crew of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad taking up track. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.

 

Stop: 1943

Stop: 1943

January 1943. "Indiana Harbor Belt R.R. switchman demonstrating signal with a fusee, used at twilight and dawn when visibility is poor. This signal means stop." Calumet City, Ill. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

Chicago Noir: 1942

Chicago Noir: 1942

December 1942. "Chicago, Illinois. Work goes on twenty-four hours a day at this Chicago and North Western Railroad yard." View full size. Medium format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.

 
 
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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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