Folk Anthropology

1937. “Woman sitting in car, Texas. Photograph by Ruby Lomax.”
14 Portraits from the Lomax Collection

Alan Lomax was a folk music collector for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress. He made acetate and aluminum discs of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton and other influential early American musicians. Without the ambitious efforts that included Alan’s father, also a musicologist, and his wife Ruby, many important songs and musicians would have remained undiscovered. Vintage photographs on Photistoric.

1935. “Gabriel Brown and Rochelle French, Eatonville, Florida “.Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “African American man, sitting outdoors, Eatonville, Florida.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

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1935. “Bound for Cat Island, June 1935.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1934. “African American convicts working with axes, Reed Camp, South Carolina.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “B’Rabby, Andros Is[land], Bahamas.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “Man wearing tie, standing, facing front, possibly from the visit by Alan Lomax and Mary Elizabeth Barnicle to Andros Island in the Bahamas.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “African American children playing singing games, Eatonville, Florida.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “Man standing on ship, facing right, taken during Bahamas recording expedition.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1940. “Rosendo Arce at Casa Ricardo Hotel, Kingsville, Texas.” Photograph by Ruby Lomax.

1935. “Woman seated in porch swing, Eatonville, Fla., taken during the Lomax, Hurston, Barnicle 1935 expedition to Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “Alexander Rolle (?), Bailiff (?), Old Bight, Cat Island, July 1935.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “Smiling woman, three-quarter-length portrait of unidentified person standing outdoors.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

1935. “Man seated holding guitar, Eatonville, Fla.” Photograph by Alan Lomax.

Gordon Parks

1942. “Anacostia, D.C. Frederick Douglass housing project. A dance group.” Photograph by Gordon Parks.
12 Early Portraits by Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was a filmaker, photographer, director and musician. Among other achievements, Parks published photographic essays in Life Magazine, wrote novels and directed “Shaft” in 1971. Parks photographed Chicago’s South Side Ghetto in 1941. Those photographs won him a fellowship with the Farm Security Administration, a major sponsor of anthropological photography and an institution which employed many of the photographers featured on Photistoric. The following photographs were taken in 1942 at the beginning of Park’s professional photography career with the FSA. They show a photographer who’s already technically proficient and able to capture the emotion of his working class subjects. Vintage photographs on Photistoric.

All photographs © The Gordon Parks Foundation.

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Edward S. Curtis

1905. “An oasis in the Badlands.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.
12 American Indian portraits by Edward S. Curtis

J.P. Morgan gave Edward S. Curtis $75,000 to create a series on the American Indian in 1906. Curtis received no salary, the money was for supplies and travel. The project took him nearly 20 years. For Curtis, the project was not simply a photographic diary, but a complete cultural survey. He made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of language and conversation, wrote thousands of notes on everything from tribal lore to architecture and took over 40,000 photographs. Below are over 100 year-old portraits selected from the collection. Vintage Photographs on Photistoric.

1905. “A fair maiden.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1905. “Sioux chiefs.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1908. “Red Wing–Apsaroke.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1899. “Nez Percé babe.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1906. “A Tewa girl.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1908. “Arikara woman.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1903. “Quniaika–Mohave.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1910. “Wisham (i.e. Wishran) girl, profile.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1908. “Sitting Bear–Arikara.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1908. “The Eagle Medicine-Man–Apsaroke.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1910. “A typical Nez Percé.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

1908. “White Man Runs Him, Apsaroke.” Photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

The Golden Age of Jazz

Photistoric_Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947 : William P Gottlieb
1947. Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, N.Y.” Photograph by William P Gottlieb.
20 Historic Photographs by William P. Gottlieb of Jazz Legends

Between 1938 and 1948, William P. Gottlieb was immersed in the jazz scene. He wrote for jazz magazines, jazz columns, had a jazz radio show and took thousands of photographs in jazz clubs. After his death the collection of images were donated to the Library of Congress and released into the public domain in accordance with Gottliebs wishes. Vintage photographs on Photustoric.

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Minnesota Loggers

1937. “Old lumberjack, over seventy and still working at camp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.
15 historic photographs by Russell Lee of Lumberjacks in Minnesota.

Minnesota’s history is synonymous with logging. In 1937, Russell lee traveled to lumber camps in rural Minnesota. Writing to Lee, a friend and fellow photographer said of International Falls Minnesota that as “one of the toughest towns on the border, it is a meeting place of Lumberman, indian traders, trappers, smugglers, immigration and refugee smugglers, and so on. They used to kill a man every morning before breakfast and one just before supper, just for amusement.” The following images were taken by Lee when he was employed by the Farm Security Administration. Vintage Photographs on Photistoric.

1937. “Camp cook blowing dinner horn, at camp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Loaders pushing logs into place while loading car, lumbercamp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937.”Operators of the loading machine at logging camp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Construction of stalls and barn at logging camp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Partially-loaded car of lumber near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Going into the woods for another load. Logging camp near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Lumberjack turning handspring near Littlefork, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Lumberjack with bandaged head after being beaten up and “rolled” in a saloon on Saturday night in Craigsville, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. ” Lumberjack at Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Lumberjacks in front of the Durman Hotel, Little Fork, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Lumberjack waiting for load of logs to be pulled away near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Loading logs onto railroad car near Effie, Minnesota.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

1937. “Old resident of Margie, Minnesota. A former lumberjack.” Photograph by Russell Lee.

The 1940s: In Color

1942. “Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana.” Photograph by Russell Lee.
17 Historic Photographs of the Greatest Generation.

The 1940s were perhaps the most tumultuous decade in modern American and world history. The United States officially entered World War II in 1942. Countries were restructured and the atrocities of the atomic bomb and the holocaust caused millions of deaths. Isreal was established, as was the United Nations and the NATO forces.

A generation that had just begun to pull away from the Great Depression, now had to prepare for a massive war that took resources and labor away from its country’s depleted coffers. In place of the male workforce, women stepped in at the factories and offices. Photographers from the soon-to-be defunct Farm Security Administration documented war preparations and the new female workforce.

Some of the images during that time were taken on color film. All of the following images are in color and provide an immediacy that is not present in black and white photography. Vintage photographs on Photistoric.

1943. “Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas.” Photograph by John Vachon.

1943. “Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, Tennessee.” Photograph by Alfred T Palmer.

1942. “Gus Worke, a farmer who came from Germany 40 years ago, Southington, Conn..” Photograph by Fenno Jacobs.

1942. “‘Women in white’ doctor Navy planes (motors) at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas. Mildred Webb, an NYA trainee at the base, is learning to operate a cutting machine in the Assembly and Repair Department. After about eight weeks as an apprentice she will be eligible for a civil service job in the capacity for which she has been trained.” Photograph by Howard R. Hollem.

1943. “Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, C. & N.W. R.R., Clinton, Iowa.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1943. “C. & N.W. R.R., Mrs. Marcella Hart, mother of three children, employed as a wiper at the roundhouse, Clinton, Iowa.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1943. “Night view of part of Santa Fe R.R. yard, Kansas City, Kansas.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1943. “Daniel Senise throwing a switch while at work in an Indiana Harbor Belt Line railroad yard.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1943. “Camouflage class at N[ew] Y[ork] University, where men and women are preparing for jobs in the Army or in industry, New York, N.Y. This model has been camouflaged and photographed. The girl is correcting oversights detected in the camouflaging of a model defense plant.” Photograph by Marjory Collins.

1943. “A view looking northeast from the fire tower manned by Barbara Mortensen, a fire and airplane lookout on Pine Mountain, Gorham vicinity, N.H.” Photograph by John Collier.

1941-1942. “Houses and factories.” Unknown Photographer.

1941-1942. “Christmas trees and wreaths in store window display.” Unknown Photographer.

1942. “Tomato crates at the Yauco cooperative tomato growers’ association, Puerto Rico.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1941. “Farm Security Administration borrower plowing his garden with one of the few plows used on the island, vicinity of Frederiksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

1941. “‘Backstage’ at the ‘girlie’ show at the Vermont state fair, Rutland. Photograph by Jack Delano.

1940. “Men reading headlines posted in street-corner of Brockton Enterprise newspaper office, Brockton, Mass.” Photograph by Jack Delano.

Baseball: The Greatest Game

1921. “Old Timers base ball team, Cleveland Ohio’s 125th Anniversary, Dunn Field…” Photograph by Flowers, F. A.
21 Historic Photographs of Baseball: The Greatest Game

Since its inception in the 18th century, baseball has been an incredibly popular sport. Its stars have been revered, hated and loved by the media. In Japan, Puerto Rico and the United States in particular, baseball is inseparable from popular culture. Babe Ruth said “Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.” Vintage Photographs on Photistoric.

1910. “Mathewson of N.Y. Nat.” Photography by Paul Thompson.

1939. “Anacostia High School, [Washington, D.C.], 1939, baseball team.” Unknown Photographer.

1911. ” Edward Walsh, Chicago Americans.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1908. “Cy Young, Boston AL, full-length portrait, standing, facing right, throwing baseball.” Unknown photographer.

1911. “Davis, Phila. Am.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1910. “Tinker of Chic. Nat.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1911. “Huge crowd of baseball fans watching baseball scoreboard during World Series game in New York City.” Unknown Photographer.

1911. “Grant, Phila. Nat.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1914. “Boston rooters at Shibe Park, Philadelphia.” Unknown Photographer.”

1911.”Magee, Phila. Nat.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1914. “Shibe Park, Philadelphia.” Photograph by Bain News Service.

1925. “Early fans at game, 10/10/25.” Unknown Photographer.

1913. “1st base grandstand at Shibe Park, Philadelphia, 1913 World Series.” Photograph by Bain News Service.

1925. “Early fans at game, 10/11/25.” Unknown Photographer.

1910. “Lake of Bos. Nat.” Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1911. “George Kahler, Cleveland AL, at Hilltop Park, NY.” Photograph by Bain News Service.

1913. “Harry Lord, Chicago AL.” Photograph by Harris & Ewing.

1908. “The Ball Team. Composed mainly of glass workers. Indiana. Aug. 1908. L.W.H.” Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.

1910. Oakes, St. Louis Nationals. Photograph by Paul Thompson.

1919. “Babe Ruth, 1919.” Unknown Photographer.