These visual records of our collective history, are from the
Library of Congress archive in Washington, DC. The Library maintains
and safeguards images from some of the most important collections
of photographic documents created since the camera was invented.
Pictures from the Farm Security Administration by Walker Evans,
Marion Post Wolcott, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, and others
focus on life during the time of the dust bowl and the New Deal.
Straightforward, compelling images by sociologist-photographer
Lewis Wickes Hine exposed the often brutal conditions faced
by Americans, particularly children in mines, factories, mills
and on the streets of our turn-of-the-century cities. The photographs
were made for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) which
donated its collection to the LOC in 1954.
In the mid 1890s, Edward Sheriff Curtis began photographing
local Puget Sound Native Americans. A decade later Curtis embarked
on a thirty-year mission he described as an effort "to
form a comprehensive and permanent record of all the important
tribes of the United States and Alaska that still retain to
a considerable degree their...customs and traditions."
When Curtis died in 1952, his lifework with Native Americans
had all but faded into obscurity. Rediscovered in the 1960s
and 1970s, Curtis's photographic work is now recognized as one
of the most significant records of Native culture ever produced.
The George Grantham Bain and National Photo Company Collections
represent a variety of photographs documenting sports, theater,
politics, crime and suffrage. The pictures offer a rich view
of American life in the early 20th century.
In an unprecedented project, photographers Matthew Brady, Alexander
Gardner, James Gardner, Timothy O'Sullivan and others documented
the horrors of the War Between the States and its aftermath.
All the pictures in American Images from the Library of Congress
are worthy as works of art. Equally important: they carry the
ubiquitous "no known restrictions" label assigned
by the LOC. This means you can purchase fine art quality prints
from various sources or even download image files from LOC.GOV
and make your own prints. The images belong to all of us.