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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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American Gothic: 1940

American Gothic: 1940

December 1940. "Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts." These houses, which look to have been built in the 1890s, must have been imposing in their day. Note the elaborate woodwork and intricate system of gutters and downspouts. Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size.

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The street now

What Was There offers a nifty view of what this street looks like now. Is it possible half the house is still standing?

"I'm sorry, Ollie"

The kid on the right seems to be doing a Stan Laurel impression.

Cue boiling oil

This reminds me of the Charles Addams cartoons from the old New Yorker magazine. Just needs a punch line.


The kid all the way to the right is clearly some sort of weisenheimer. Looks like he's adopting a purposely artificial pose or something. There is another little kid peering out the window all the way to the left. Little boys have been playing in dirt, as evidenced by the lovingly molded dirt mound replete with tunnel for the toy truck to drive through. There is an old can, perhaps for a game of kick the can...? It must have been around Christmastime, as there are wreaths in the windows. The proud fellow in the red and black jacket could be Terry Malloy in another fourteen years. Love that there is a sense of love and protection coming from the parents. I get the idea that though the kids didn't have much they knew they were cared for and didn't feel sorry for themselves. Thanks for indulging my ruminations and thank you for this gorgeous website. I love it to bits and pieces.

Red Ryder

This look like a scene from the film "A Christmas Story".

My House

I lived in a house like this one in the 50's but it wasn't in Massachusetts. They tore it down and built a hospital which greatly distressed me. I hate it when old houses die.

The House

I am totally in love with this house..I just can NOT get enough of these incredible colour pictures of the 40's. I think they appear to have better quality than the photos of today. I'd so love to live in this era.

American Gothic

Just wanted to say how much I appreciate someone sharing these awesome pictures with the rest of the world.


American Gothic

hard working people doing the best they could.

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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