Just Another Guy with Opinions

The Library of Congress Needs Your Help

Posted by shadmia on January 28, 2008


Have you ever looked at some old family album and wondered who are these people? Maybe a long-lost cousin or a forgotten family friend. Did you ever wonder how old is this picture anyway? If you are lucky there may be some information scribbled on the back. If not maybe you could ask grandma or uncle. Old analog cameras were incapable of recording time/date stamps and sometimes people would write on the back of old photographs the particulars…..but often there would be no information. Just recently my mother sent me an old black and white picture (remember those??) of my dad and his brothers when he was a boy. I had to ask her to identify each person in the picture…even my own Dad!!

Today most cameras are capable of record meta data, detailing the time, date and even location of a picture. We have online services like FLICKR where photos can be uploaded and shared. Tagging is a common feature where anyone can add information to a photo. We have come a long way since the early days of photography.

However there are literally millions of unidentified photos, whose information has been lost with the passage of time. The Library of Congress has thousands of historical photos that it needs help with. It is appealing to FLICKR users to help identify, tag and make pertinent comments. It is hoping that people will add valuable information that might otherwise be impossible for it to find. The pictures, which are stunning in their quality, were taken from the early to mid 1900s, and the subjects range from baseball players to Rosie the Riveter types during World War II.

These photos can be found at:

Even if you can’t help identify or provide more information about these pictures, take a look anyway. It is a window on a past era that reminds us of what it was like back then.


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