Top of page

Labor Day (May Day) parade, crowd in rain in street, New York. Photo by Bain News Service, May 1, 1909.

Rainy Days

Share this post:

As one might expect given the season, April has arrived in the nation’s capital with substantial rain showers. Inspired by what I see outside and curious to see what kinds of rainy weather images I could find in the collections, I searched the online catalog.

There is no shortage of D.C.-based photographs in the collections. Among many photos of the U.S. Capitol I found this one, which captures a partial reflection of the building’s famous dome in a puddle:

View of the U.S. Capitol, at night, in rain. Photo by Paul Grenbeaux, 1919.

When perusing rain-related photographs, I was struck by the high number that featured substantial crowds. Cold showers did not deter a multitude from observing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s second inauguration in 1937, as evident in this photograph:

Sea of umbrellas, Washington, D.C. January 20. President Roosevelt faced a veritable sea of umbrellas as he took his second oath of office and delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol today. Thousands braved the chill rain to witness the ceremony. Photo by Harris & Ewing, January 20, 1937.

A few decades earlier, this New York City crowd came equipped with umbrellas to attend a parade in the rain:

Labor Day (May Day) parade, crowd in rain in street, New York. Photo by Bain News Service, May 1, 1909.

Another New York City street shines in this photograph by New York World Telegram & Sun photographer Al Aumuller:

Looking east on 110th St. from Park Ave. Photo by Al Aumuller, April 25, 1947.

Judging by the smile on the bride’s face in this photo taken at Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City, rain has not put a damper on a happy occasion:

Bride and others crossing St. Peter’s Square in the rain, Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Photo by Thomas J. O’Halloran, December 9, 1959.

In addition to photographs, the collection includes works featuring rain by printmakers, including this famous woodcut, “Sudden shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake,” by nineteenth-century Japanese artist Hiroshige:

Ōhashi atake no yūdachi [Sudden shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake]. Andō Hiroshige, 1857.
This dream-like etching by Otto H. Bacher of a rainy night in Venice, with sources of light interspersed in the background and a gondolier at work in the foreground, conveys the romantic character of the city.

A rainy night, Venice. Etching by Otto H. Bacher, circa 1880.

Learn More:



  1. What a beautiful assortment of images! Thanks for the smile on another rainy day in DC.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.