Taking On Traffic: A Closer Look at the Signals

It might seem obvious that traffic control development paralleled the growing use of automobiles. Especially after World War I, an increase in traffic created a need for more systematic signals. The first traffic light in the United States was installed in 1914 in Cleveland and the first interconnected signal system was introduced in Salt Lake […]

Caught Our Eyes: In the Eye Wear of the Beholder

Digital Library Specialist Pete Richey spotted this intriguing photograph from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection and added it to our “Caught Our Eyes” wall, where staff share pictorial “finds” from Prints & Photographs Division collections. “When I first saw this photograph it piqued my interest. At first glance this photograph could either […]

Double Take: FSA Photographer at Work, Cameras in Hand

The following is a guest post by Jan Grenci, Reference Specialist for Posters, Prints and Photographs Division. This post is the latest entry in the occasional Double Take series, where we take a closer look at images. As a reference specialist, it should come as no surprise that I enjoy doing research. What may surprise […]

Camera and Locomotive: Two Tracks across the Continent: Seeing the Railroad in 3D

The following is the fifth in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Associate Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division, that discuss the parallel development of two technologies in the 19th century: railroads and photography. Capturing the entirety of the Central Pacific Railroad from 1864–69, photographer Alfred Hart (1816–1908) traveled east from Sacramento, […]

“Not an Ostrich” Exhibit Image Inspires Feathery Detour

The following is a guest post by Beverly Brannan, Curator of Photography, picking up on a thread from an earlier post about the “Not an Ostrich” exhibition in Los Angeles, California. The title of the exhibition prompts viewers to ask “What are we really looking at?” Beverly demonstrates how that question can trigger an exploration […]

A House Hunt: Which Members of Congress Are Shown in this Panoramic Photo?

Many pictures come into Prints and Photographs Division collections with little or no identification on them. It’s not entirely surprising, since a portion of our collections were generated or collected by individuals who readily knew the who, what, where and when that depictions can evoke and didn’t feel compelled to write it down. But even […]

Behind the Scenes: A Technical Perspective

The following is an interview with Shaunette Payne about some of her varied responsibilities as a Technical Services Technician in the Prints and Photographs Division. Here we discuss her work with the Division’s stereograph cards, circus posters, and offsite collections. Melissa: You and other colleagues in the technical services section are working on a project […]

A Trio of Literary Ladies: Artist’s Descendants Donate Drawings

Fancy, Romance, and Tragedy. They sound like the plot points for a romantic tearjerker, but they are in fact the titles of three drawings recently donated to the Prints and Photographs Division by the family of the artist, George Randolph Barse, Jr. Barse was one of nearly 40 artists and sculptors charged with decorating the […]

Remembering the Fallen in Photographs

One of the most enduring traditions of Memorial Day is the decoration of the graves of fallen service members with such items as flowers and American flags. This annual day of commemoration was at one time referred to as Decoration Day because of this practice. My grandmother grew up in the deep South, where tradition […]