Color Photos from Yesteryear

The Genealogue mentioned an article from the A.P. about color photos in the Library of Congress’ holdings, from the Depression in 1930s-era USA, as well as World Ward II. Besides those color photographs, there are two more collections (including one held by the Library of Congress as well) that maybe of interest to many genealogists (at least from a historical curiosity point of view), one documenting World War I, the other covering the Russian Empire from 1909 – 1915.


Collection #1 – Depression-era USA and World War II
Excerpt from the A.P. article (Washington Post):

The Library of Congress holds 1,600 color images covering both periods, and it’s exhibiting 70 of them as digital prints at the Thomas Jefferson Building, across the street from the Capitol, through Jan. 21.

All of the color photos — as well as more than 160,000 black-and-white images of the period — can be viewed on the library’s Web site….

Besides those color photographs, there are two more collections (including one held by the Library of Congress as well) that maybe of interest to many, one documenting World War I, the other covering the Russian Empire from 1909 – 1915.

Library of Congress Site
Anotherhttp://www.loc.gov/exhibits/boundforglory/”>Another Site

Collection #2 – Russian Empire 1909-1915
The Empire That Was Russia: The Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Project RecreatedThe photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) offer a vivid portrait of a lost world–the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia’s diverse population.

In the early 1900s Prokudin-Gorskii formulated an ambitious plan for a photographic survey of the Russian Empire that won the support of Tsar Nicholas II. Between 1909-1912, and again in 1915, he completed surveys of eleven regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation.

His unique images of Russia on the eve of revolution–recorded on glass plates–were purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948 from his heirs

Collection #3 – World War I
World War I Color Photos: Sometime in late 2004, while looking at the blog, Vodkapundit – a great blog, btw – I came across an external link he had to some interesting photos of World War I. What made them of interest was that they were in color! I saved them to my hard drive, and I’m glad I did… the site that had them up ended up removing them.

So I decided to go looking for others on the web. I came across the site, Gallica, bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, There I found all of the images you see here, but, alas, the text was all in French, and the last time I spoke French with any frequency or fluency was 45 years ago! So, initially, I had to use an online translator to get the English text.

Later, Gert in Canada, Didier in Belgium and David in France helped with translating the original French wording which appears below each photo. Any translations errors which remain I must lay sole claim to.

Miscellaneous Links
Color Theory – Site discussing some of the methods used during the first World War.

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