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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Eateries & Bars

Coke and a Burger: 1938

Coke and a Burger: 1938

October 1938. "Making hamburgers in the concession stand at the National Rice Festival. Crowley, Louisiana." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. You want fries with that?

 

Dano's Roadhouse: 1938

Dano's Roadhouse: 1938

October 1938. "Roadhouse. Raceland, Louisiana. Girls at Dano's for free Friday night crab boil." View full size. 35mm negative by Russell Lee for the FSA.

 

Cajun Girls' Night Out: 1938

Cajun Girls' Night Out: 1938

October 1938. "Girls from the Cajun country at Raceland, Louisiana." 35mm negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

Mildred's Place: 1938

Mildred's Place: 1938

October 1938 at the Alamo. "Mildred Irwin, saloon singer at North Platte, Nebraska. She entertained for 20 years in Omaha before coming to North Platte." Medium-format safety negative by John Vachon. View full size.

Letter from John Vachon to his wife, Penny:

October 29, 1938

Last night I had an adventure. Of the 1st water. To have it I had to get kind of stiff. And I did, dear. Pretty plastered. But it was all in the line of duty, eminently legitimate and justifiable. About eight o'clock I went into a corner saloon. It was a saloon in the grand tradition. I drank only beer, but great gobs of it. At the piano was a big huge large fat blonde woman of 45 to 50 yrs. With beautiful smeary red makeup on her puss, and huge mammy type bosoms. And her voice, O that you could hear her voice. She has Sophie Tucker in the wastebasket   . . .

 

Bread and Coffee: 1909

Bread and Coffee: 1909

"Bread & Coffee." The new Department of Public Charities municipal lodging house at 432 East 25th Street in New York, which opened in February 1909 after four years of construction. "The first municipal lodging house fitted up by the city was a boat moored at the foot of East 26th Street in 1895, followed a few years after by the building at 398 First Avenue, just north of 23rd Street." (NYT) 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

Dee's Cafe: 1941

Dee's Cafe: 1941

July 1941. "On the Main Street of Cascade, Idaho." View full size. 35mm Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Syne of Ye Krazy Kat: 1921

Syne of Ye Krazy Kat: 1921

From July 1921, the Krazy Kat club off Thomas Circle in Washington, with Cleon Throckmorton to the right. View full size. National Photo Company Collection.

 
 
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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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