SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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War and Peace: 1865

War and Peace: 1865

May 1865. "Another artillery unit passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury." Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Glass Plate Photography

Photos of this era are all "wet plate", a lengthy process in which the plate is coated with a chemical called a colloid, then placed in a light-proof holder for use in the camera. After exposure it must be developed before drying. Lots of info online. Sounds like a fascinating craft for someone with time and an interest in exacting hobbies. After around 1880 "dry plate" came in (thanks partly to George Eastman) and you could buy your plates ready- made and develop at your leisure.


You can likely find more information than you ever thought possible at
That's the Analog Photography Users Group and there are a lot of people doing "old school" photography.


Streetcars. Thanks for the info. Your knowledge is so helpful in understanding the contents of these amazing photos.

Glass Plates

Does anyone know anything about developing glass plate negatives?

The Rails

Those two sets of rails we see in the street...would some Shorpy history expert be able to say what ran on them? And it appears the rails themselves have an unusual design compared to a common railroad track. An no apparent rail ties underneath would indicate whatever rolled on those tracks couldn't have been too heavy.

[Those are streetcar tracks. - Dave]

It's so strange

to think my great-great grandpa could be in that crowd. I would love to find a picture of him during that time.

Victory Parade

This is the victory parade of the Union Army. Three days of parading and festivities marked the end of the Civil War. I've seen a picture of the official reviewing stand with President Johnson, General Grant, and other notables. The stand was decorated with the names of battles.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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