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:
December 1942. "Production. Mercury. Loading mercury ore into a mine car by hand at the New Idria, California, plant of the New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company. Triple-distilled mercury is produced from cinnabar, an ore containing sulfur and mercury mined at a number of workings near the plant." Photo by Andreas Feininger for the Office of War Information. View full size.
On Shorpy.com's seventh birthday, a look back at our namesake, the teenage mine greaser Shorpy Higginbotham, shown here in 1910 at age 14. His life was cut short by a mine accident in 1928, when he was crushed by a rock.
December 1910. Jefferson County, Alabama. "Shorpy Higginbotham, a 'greaser' on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.
December 1942. "Armed guard at a copper smelter of the Phelps-Dodge Mining Company at Morenci, Arizona. This plant is supplying great quantities of the copper so vital in our war effort." Oh, and: Merry Christmas! Photo by Fritz Henle for the Office of War Information. View full size.
Fall 1942. "War production drive. Anthracite rallies. Jeep headlights form V for Victory at the night rally for Pennsylvania anthracite miners in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 29. Similar rallies were held in other anthracite cities from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1." Photo by William Perlitch, Office of War Information. View full size.