SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
 
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About the Photos

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.

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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • MARS SNOOPER, 1959

Somebody's Chevy: 1956

Somebody's Chevy: 1956

Another view of the great baby boom suburb of Levittown, Pennsylvania, in this case only three years after it was built. In it you can see one of the original mid-century modern homes, with its floor to ceiling windows and open carport. Best of all their mid-century Chevrolet is parked in it. I am the toddler with the stroller, playing on the sidewalk. My mother took the picture. I scanned it from a 2 inch by 2 inch negative.

Chicago Bound: 1960

Chicago Bound: 1960

January 16, 1960. It was about 1 o'clock on a cool, crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon at the Lake Bluff stop of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban railroad. The North Shore was one of America's very last operating interurbans when I photographed a group of cadets from the nearby Great Lakes Naval Training Center climbing aboard a southbound train for a weekend of fun and relaxation in downtown Chicago. The attentive motorman is keeping an eye on the conductor for the two-bell start signal while at the same time observing what I was doing with my camera. The once busy line was abandoned three years later, almost to the day. 35mm Kodachrome by William D. Volkmer. View full size.

Streetcar by Night: 1976

Streetcar by Night: 1976

On a visit to New Orleans in May 1976, I stayed at the Hummingbird Hotel, which was like a scene from "A Streetcar Named Desire." The window at the front of the room looked out onto St. Charles Street, and every so often a streetcar would roll by. On a warm, humid night, the open windows of the streetcar afforded a cooling breeze and a great view of the City. And they still do on the St. Charles line. View full size.

Let's Pretend: 1954

Let's Pretend: 1954

My mother never mowed a lawn in her life. But she did pose here, for my father to take her picture, in the back yard of our first Levittown Pennsylvania home. This is my mother pretending to mow the lawn.

What’s interesting about this picture is the actual mower. The year of this picture is 1954. Notice the cord trailing behind my mother, wrapped around the side of the handle, and plugged into the motor. This rotary mower was electric. And it was quiet. No two stroke motor buzz or starter cord to pull. Though my father bought it used from an ad on a bulletin board at work in 1953, because he owned no mower before he owned that house, it only dates from around 1950 or 1951. I found the identical mower for sale in a Canadian Sears catalog of that era. Paint color was a dark rust shade of red.

Paris by Night: 1974

Paris by Night: 1974

This photo was taken in 1974 in the famous nightclub l'Alcazar, in Paris. Right in the front my father, back left my mother. View full size.

Corsican Family: 1910

Corsican Family: 1910

This photo was taken in 1910 in Corsica. The woman is my great-grandmother. They lived in a village called Velone-Orneto.

French Class: 1952

French Class: 1952

This photo was taken in France in 1952. My mother appears in the middle row. View full size.

The Streetcar I Desired: 1957

The Streetcar I Desired: 1957

New Orleans, June 15, 1957 -- on the same day that I took the Canal Street photo pictured here, my goal was to find a streetcar that still retained the destination for the Desire line, made famous by playwright Tennessee Williams. In 1957 the Desire line had used buses for almost 10 years, but I approached the operators on their break at the foot of the Canal Ferry loop and asked them if they could roll the destination sign to "Desire" to allow me a photo shoot. The first three or four cars only contained signs for the two remaining streetcar lines, Canal and St. Charles. Then on about the fifth try, bingo, Car 910's signs still had the full complement of abandoned streetcar lines, so the kindly motorman set it for Desire and continued on his rest break until I had completed my photographic endeavor. 35mm Kodachrome by William D. Volkmer. View full size.

 
SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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