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:
January 1943. "Freight operations on the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad between Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. The engine crew, engineer and fireman report at the roundhouse office to be assigned their engine and given orders for the day. The cylinder at the left is the pool board; it lists the names of the men and the order and shift in which they will work." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.
So many of you guessed correctly on this one that we're not going to wait till tomorrow for the answer -- the lady's job is: Telegram gummer. Original caption for the photo, taken by Esther Bubley: "June 1943. Miss Kathleen McCarthy, a Western Union teleprinter operator, gumming telegraph messages."
The year is 1943 and the place is Washington, D.C. What is this girl doing? (Hint: Hundreds if not thousands of people had the same job over the course of many years.) Check back on Sunday for the answer. View full size.
April 1953. "Comedians Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca posed in humorous situations with air conditioning units. Includes Caesar dressed in his 'professor' costume and Coca dressed as a mechanic, looking at a diagram of a cooling system." From photos by Arthur Rothstein and John Vachon for the Look magazine assignment "Air Conditioning -- How It Works." View full size.
June 1924. Washington, D.C. "Carl W. Mitman, Curator of Engineering, U.S. National Museum [Smithsonian Institution], holding what is believed to be the first radio tube, made in 1898 by D. McFarlan Moore of New York. Radio waves emanating from this tube ignited a bomb a city block away and blew up a miniature of the Battleship Maine." Harris & Ewing glass plate. View full size.