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:
1915. "Eitel Friedrich, German ship taken over by U.S." The commerce raider Eitel Friedrich, a former passenger liner converted into an auxiliary cruiser for the German navy early in World War I, put into port at Newport News, Virginia, for repairs in March 1915 after sinking a number of British ships (and one U.S. merchant vessel) and taking on more than 300 British and French prisoners. After almost a month the captain decided to intern, and the vessel was towed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she remained under the German flag until being seized by the U.S. government in April 1917. (Harris & Ewing.) View full size.
Washington circa 1914. "H.E.F. & A.W.L. in Detroiter." Herbert E. French, driving, was the owner of National Photo Company; "Artie" Leonard was one of its photographers. They're at the Tidal Basin on the Inlet Bridge, with the Washington Monument in back. National Photo glass negative. View full size.
September 1916. "Kron Prinz Wilhelm, German ship, interned in U.S. in tow." The former passenger liner, pressed into service as a commerce raider by the Imperial German Navy at the start of World War I, being towed from the Norfolk yards to Philadelphia. During its eight months on the high seas -- after leaving New York Harbor with 2,000 tons of coal -- the converted 15,000-ton cruiser sank more than a dozen Allied ships and took hundreds of prisoners. Running low on supplies, its crew and prisoners beset by a variety of illnesses, the battered vessel sought refuge in April 1915 at Newport News, where its sailors were interned for over a year. After the United States entered the war, the ship was seized by the government, rechristened the USS Von Steuben and converted into a troop carrier. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.