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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 • THERE'S NO MEDICINE FOR REGRET, 1945

Family portrait with hired help

Family portrait with hired help

I came across this image so long ago that I can't remember where I purchased it. It has always been one of my favorites though for many reasons. First, I've always been taken with the expressions, especially on the men, even the dog!

Written on the reverse in ink is "Dads four sisters + brother Oscar and hirid (sic) help." Out of the four sisters, the only one who isn't looking directly at the photographer is the sister on the right sitting next to the stern looking man with the great derby hat. She's knitting, and she's the only one not wearing a dress made of the same material as the other three. I think it's possible that she may be blind or close to it. The other women are sewing, there is thread and some kind of sewing apparatus on the table in front of them). It seems that the fellow on the right in the derby and the young fellow in the hat on the left have some sort of pattern in their laps. Perhaps they are tailors.

The three fellows seated on the ground have tools in their hands, but I can't figure out what they are exactly - except for the knife held by the one in the middle. Is it possible that the young fellow on the ground to the right is wearing some sort of Civil War uniform? I'm not sure when this photo was taken, but I get the feeling that it may be post Civil War.

Portrait of Lydia

Portrait of Lydia

This photo was given to me by a friend who found it in an old dusty corner of a basement in the building that he was renovating into his studio. Written on the back in pencil is the name "Lydia Bishop Maiden." Beneath an elaborate logo is "Entrekin Photographer 4384 Main St. Manayunk."

Found Boy in Suit

Found Boy in Suit

I found this photo ages ago in an old antique store in the moutains of Virginia. The back is printed with the words "Richter & Co. Photographers and Portrait Painters, North Corner 8th and Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia. Negatives Preserved. Copies or enlargements may be had at any time."

The Boys: 1952

The Boys: 1952

Possibly Indianapolis, circa 1952. Set 2 of found 35mm Kodachromes. At right is the boy from Dancing Queen. At left: Technicolor cuffs. View full size.

Ice Skating 1940's

Ice Skating 1940's

I found this snapshot at a flea market in New Jersey. The location is unknown to me. Striking image. Probably made after church on a nice winter day.

Mother and Child.

Mother and Child.

I found these old 4X5 glass plate negatives years ago at a garage sale. Just got around to scanning them.

My Grandparents

My Grandparents

This was a postcard my grandfather, Angel Ortega, had made from a photo of himself and his fiancee, Nemesia Quintana, in Gibara, Cuba. I believe it was dated 1918.

 
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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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