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:
New York, 1917. "Washday on landship Recruit." Sailors doing their laundry on the Navy's pretend battleship moored at Union Square, used for recruiting during World War I. In back is the Automatic Vaudeville penny arcade, two of whose backers -- Marcus Loew and Adolph Zukor -- went on to found Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer and Paramount Pictures after a few years in the nickelodeon business. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.
New York, 1917. "Aboard the Recruit." Our first glimpse of life on the "landship" U.S.S. Recruit, a wooden destroyer set up in Union Square as a Navy recruiting station. For our marooned sailors there was a phonograph, dancing and a pet goat. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.
New York, 1917. "Landship Recruit on Union Square." The U.S.S. Recruit, a wooden battleship erected by the Navy, served as a World War I recruiting station at Union Square from 1917 to 1920, when it "set sail" for Coney Island. This is the first in a series of photographs depicting life around and aboard the landlocked boat. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.