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:
Street scene in Washington, D.C., winter of 1941-42. View full size. Alternate version here. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Louise Rosskam, probably taken near the N and Union intersection of her other shots. Clues are the Chung Wah laundry at 1264, the J. Marucci barbershop and the A. Peterman clothing store.
July/Aug. 9, 1910: The French actress Polaire, her little blind dog and the young man she provocatively called her "slave." Newspapers of the day were a bit more circumspect. The Washington Post of April 11, 1915: "Mlle. Polaire has been chief- ly remarkable for her tiny waist, her jewels, her black footman and her dashing originality in any role of life." Full size. G.G. Bain Collection. More here.
"Collie's Special Delivery," 1916. Dog posed on toy wagon loaded with Uneeda Biscuit cartons. View full size. Photo by Dr. E.W. Smith, Terre Haute, Indiana.
Chain gang of convicts engaged in road work, Autumn 1910. Pitt County, North Carolina. The inmates are quartered in the wagons, which are equipped with bunks and move from place to place as labor is utilized. The central figure is J.Z. McLawhon, county superintendent of chain gangs. The dogs are bloodhounds used for running down any attempted escapes. View full size.
Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts. December 1940. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size. These houses, which look to have been built in the 1890s, must have been imposing in their day. Note the elaborate woodwork and intricate system of gutters and downspouts.