Caught Our Eyes: A Wintry Mystery

Okay, I admit it. California-born and raised, I begin to shiver when the temperature dips much below 40 degrees, as it has this past week in Washington, D.C. That’s probably why my eye was drawn to this photo, which reference librarian Jon Eaker added to our “Caught Our Eyes” staff sharing wall.

Snow, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, between 1915 and 1923. //

Snow, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, between 1915 and 1923. //

Although it eloquently communicates wintry conditions, we know very little about the photo. It’s from the glass negatives produced by the Harris & Ewing firm, which was based in Washington, D.C., and focused on local happenings. And from the glimpse of city in the background, it was probably taken in Washington, D.C. But where? And when? Was it in the wake of a big snowfall? Or–given the seeming lack of snow surrounding this igloo-like pile–is it demonstrating particularly efficient snow clearing?

I tried one of our favorite methods of searching for clues–I used the “browse neighboring images” feature in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog to look at Harris & Ewing negatives that are numbered and filed close to this one. But, other than some icicles and wintry street scene, it didn’t yield any epiphanies.

Selecting "Browse neighboring images by call number" from the description of the snow photo yields this display.

Selecting “Browse neighboring images by call number” from the description of the snow photo yields this display.

We invite you to look for clues — or (as I did) simply to fantasize about how you would make this snow structure cozy on a cold day!

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Caught Our Eyes: The Ramirez Family Farm

Brett Carnell, Head of the Prints & Photographs Division Technical Services section, explains what caught his attention about a photo he added to our local picture “sharing” wall. This photograph of the Ramirez family first caught my eye because it reminded me of my youth.  I was raised in the rural West where semi-arid farming […]

Caught Our Eyes: Celebrating Cars–and Car Parts!

The grounds of the U.S. Capitol have played host to millions of visitors, not to mention every flavor of celebrations and demonstrations. But it’s not often that you see a car parts strewn across the Capitol’s well-groomed grounds. Reference librarian Jon Eaker spotted this photo among photographs recently digitized from the U.S. News & World […]

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: A Thought-Provoking Farm Security Administration Negative

Digital Conversion Technician Brittany Long added this image to our “Caught Our Eyes” sharing wall a few months ago, with a two-word comment: “Representation Matters.” Brittany encountered the image while working on a team that is going negative by negative through a segment of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) Collection to make […]

Caught our Eyes: Knitting Pictures

When Digital Library Specialist Anne Mitchell isn’t wrangling digital files and managing metadata, she can often be seen with her fingers flying as some beautiful new creation emerges from her knitting needles. It’s no wonder that she was particularly adept at finding images of knitters and other practitioners of textile crafts in our collections. Here, […]

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 […]

Caught Our Eyes: No Getting Past the Dog Days

No, this is not a post bemoaning the sultry heat of late summer (sometimes referred to, apparently for astronomical reasons, as the “dog days”). The Prints & Photographs Division’s dog days are prompted by the realization that various staff members highlighted portraits of dogs (some with accompanying humans) on the division’s “Caught Our Eyes” wall, […]