Historic Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on March 11, 2011

Visitors to this blog (thank you one and all!) quickly notice the historic pictures. They come from two primary sources at this time. This are The Library of Congress and ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

PG learned about the LOC collection by reading Shorpy , where the slogans are ” e pluribus pablum/ always something interesting”. There is a header ad for Levis today. The GSU collection is featured at Atlanta Time Machine. Both sites can steal hours of your time.

The LOC collection that PG mines is the “Prints and Photographs” collection of the overall Library of Congress. At last count there were 67 groups in this collection, with more added from time to time. One of the better new collections is the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs . It is a collection of framed portraits of soldiers from the recent unpleasantness.

The pictures at the GSU library are from two primary sources. They are the Lane Brothers Photographers Collections and the Tracy O’Neal Collections. Regarding the Lane Brothers:
“The Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection consists of about 258,100 (196,800 4×5 inch and 61,300 2 1/2 inch) acetate negatives which are housed in 43,486 envelopes. The collection spans the years 1920 to 1976 with the bulk of the negatives dating from 1939 to 1975. Some of the images are copy negatives of photographs which date as early as 1864. The envelopes are organized into six series (1) Corporate bodies, (2) Geographic places, (3) Events, (4) Portraits, (5) Things, and (6) Miscellaneous-sized negatives.
The collection consists of photographic negatives and prints of the Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers (Atlanta, Ga.) and its predecessor the Lane Brothers Photo News Service from ca. 1920-1976. Early materials (1920’s-1939) include glass plate negatives and photographs taken by Jack Lane and his brother W.C. Lane as freelance photographers for the Atlanta News, other newspapers, and wire services. “

“The Tracy W. O’Neal Collection consists of about 31,500 4×5 inch acetate negatives which are housed in 10,814 envelopes. The collection spans the years 1923 to 1975 with the bulk of the negatives dating from 1950 to 1974. Some of the images are copy negatives of photographs which date as early as 1889. The envelopes are arranged chronologically by year, then alphabetically within each year.”

Each picture has its own web address. When you view a picture at Chamblee54, hold the mouse over the picture for a minute, and a number will be shown. This number can be used to look for more information about the picture. Typically, when the picture is processed for blog use, an x is added to the end of the number. ( If more than one detail is used from a picture, there will be an extra letter after the x. Typically, this is xa, xb, xc and so forth. Also, some LOC numbers are used for more than one image, and xa xb xc is used to distinguish between the images.) If you are looking for more information about the pictures, you should disregard the x, and any letters after the x.

For the LOC pictures, it is fairly simple. Enter the number in the search engine field, and click go. For the GSU pictures, it is different. The number is a code. Take picture LBCB023-113ax. LB stands for Lane Brothers. CB is corporate bodies. The drawing is in box 023, and envelope 113, and is picture a. The x indicates that this picture has been processed for blog use.

Most of the Lane Brothers categories are self explanatory. Geographic Places ( GP, no kin to PG) has Named Streets (NS), Facilities (F), and Outside Atlanta (OA). Portraits are indicated by P. Events are a bit trickier. LBCE is corporate events, with the E at the end. There are Person events (LBPE), Movie Premieres (LBMPE), and others. The last two are things (LBT) and miscellaneous (LBSCB and a few others). The system can be confusing.

In blessed contrast, the O’Neal Collection is signified by an N, followed by a box number and envelope number. N10-67b is O’Neal, box 10, envelope 67, picture b.

Many of the images in the LOC are public domain. There is a note on each page about the copyright status, along with the message that “Rights assessment is your responsibility”. (This is in red letters.)

One of the more popular collections is the Farm Service Administration / Office of War Information. This was a Government sponsored program to document American life during the Depression, and later during World War Two. It produced the famous image known as “Migrant Mother”. The majority of these pictures are public domain. According to the rights and restrictions page,
“Most photographs in this collection were taken by photographers working for the U.S. Government. Work by the U.S. Government is not eligible for copyright protection (see page 5 of the Copyright Office’s Circular 1, “Copyright Basics”).”
The photographs in the GSU library are owned by the library, and some restrictions apply to their use. For information about use of these pictures, contact

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ed Darrell said, on March 14, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I wonder how many other collections of photos are out there, deteriorating, while they should be sitting in libraries getting catalogued and digitized. I notice that most of these collections — at GSU, or the Library of Congress, or the Denver Public Library, or the Utah State Historical Society, or wherever — seem to have collections from one or two commercial photographers. Heck, almost every town had a commercial photographer. What happens to all those old photos?

    Maybe we should embark on a campaign to smoke out the people who possess those old collections, and talk them into donating them to libraries . . .

    It would be something to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: