“What’s this Gadget?”: Solving Mystery Photos

We asked “What’s this Gadget?” about a set of twenty-five uncaptioned photographs from the Harris & Ewing Collection, and you definitely put on your thinking caps – or maybe your psychographs – which we learned the smiling woman below is “wearing”! This previously uncaptioned photograph shows a psychograph, a phrenology machine meant to measure the […]

“What’s the Story?”: Solving Mystery Photos

We asked “What’s the Story?” – and the answers came rolling in! Two months ago, we added twenty photographic puzzlers from the Harris & Ewing collection to the Library’s Flickr account with the (we hoped) tantalizing headline of “Mystery Photos – What’s the Story?” The corresponding glass negatives for these photos came to us without […]

Gadgets in Images: Obvious or Mysterious?

Barbara Natanson, Head of the Prints & Photographs Reading Room, recently searched the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog for “gadgets” and shared one of the images that appeared in the results – this photograph by Russell Lee likely taken at the Gonzales County Fair in Texas in 1939. Lee did not, or perhaps could not, […]

Posing (and Solving) Mysteries: Harris & Ewing Photographs Invite Detective Work

I’m constantly amazed and amused by photographs from the Harris & Ewing Collection and the range in the information that came with them, from the sublimely detailed–full of names and dates–to the barer-than-bare bones: no caption at all. Here’s an example that intrigues me, particularly with the model wagon(?) beside her on the desk. Though […]

Caught Our Eyes: Solving a Stork Mystery

Perhaps it’s the impending arrival of April 1, but my first thought upon looking at this photo, placed on our “Caught Our Eyes” sharing wall by reference librarian Jon Eaker, was that it was an April Fool’s joke. As is sometimes the case with photos in our Harris & Ewing collection, where captions range from […]

Caught Our Eyes: Jumping to Connections, Not to Conclusions

I ran across this photo several months ago while looking for something else, and immediately laughed and put it in my “don’t try this at home” file. But what I definitely recommend you do try at home, or anywhere else you have an opportunity, is to talk about pictures with others. It almost always adds […]