1800s

Vintage: Historical views of American National Parks (19th Century)

Vintage: Historical views of American National Parks (19th Century)

By the Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed it “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.” The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. In the years…
Vintage: Great Boston Fire of 1872 (Exactly 145 years ago)

Vintage: Great Boston Fire of 1872 (Exactly 145 years ago)

The conflagration began at 7:20 p.m. on November 9, 1872, in the basement of a commercial warehouse at 83-87 Summer Street. The fire was finally contained 12 hours later, after it had consumed about 65 acres (26 ha) of Boston’s downtown, 776 buildings and much of the financial district, and caused $73.5 million in damage. Despite these devastations, only thirteen…
Historic B&W photos of London, England (19th Century)

Historic B&W photos of London, England (19th Century)

London was the world’s largest city from about 1831 to 1925. London’s overcrowded conditions led to cholera epidemics, claiming 14,000 lives in 1848, and 6,000 in 1866. Rising traffic congestion led to the creation of the world’s first local urban rail network. The Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion in the capital and some of the surrounding counties; it…
Vintage: Everyday Life in Norway (19th Century)

Vintage: Everyday Life in Norway (19th Century)

Life in Norway (especially economic life) was “dominated by the aristocracy of professional men who filled most of the important posts in the central government”. There was no strong bourgeosie class in Norway to demand a breakdown of this aristocratic control of the economy. Thus, even while revolution swept over most of the countries of Europe in 1848, Norway was…
Vintage: World’s First Fitness Machines (1892)

Vintage: World’s First Fitness Machines (1892)

The gyms of today have developed from a prototype designed by Doctor Gustaf Zander more than 150 years ago. Zander was born in Stockholm in 1835. In 1857, when working as a gymnastics teacher, he realised that he didn’t have enough time or energy to teach all of his students properly. His solution was to build a number of appliances…
Vintage: Nebraska Mug Shots (Late 19th Century)

Vintage: Nebraska Mug Shots (Late 19th Century)

The Nebraska State Penitentiary used photography beginning in 1867 to record the likeness of the state’s most infamous residents. The Omaha police photographed suspects when arrested. Whether the people depicted were guilty or innocent, behind every photograph is a human story. This glimpse back at some of the thousands of photographs in the Nebraska State Penitentiary and Omaha Police Court…
Vintage: Everyday Life of Atlanta, Georgia (19th Century)

Vintage: Everyday Life of Atlanta, Georgia (19th Century)

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt. Due to the city’s superior rail transportation network, the state capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta in 1868. In the 1880 Census, Atlanta surpassed Savannah as Georgia’s largest city. Beginning in the 1880s, Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, promoted Atlanta to potential investors…
Vintage: Cléo de Mérode Portraits (1890s and 1900s)

Vintage: Cléo de Mérode Portraits (1890s and 1900s)

Posing for many photographers who diffuse her image worldwide, in newspapers and postcards, she is elected Beauty Queen in 1896 among various celebrities. The same year, she enhances her fame when a white marble sculpture, La Danseuse, by Alexandre Falguière, is said to have been moulded on her body; facing a public scandal, she claims she only lent her features…
Vintage: Shipwrecks from Isles of Scilly (Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries)

Vintage: Shipwrecks from Isles of Scilly (Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries)

From 1869 onwards, members of the family systematically recorded most of the great shipwreck disasters that occurred around the Isles of Scilly — a small group of islands off the coast of Cornwall in southern England. Patriarch, seaman, and pioneering shipwreck photojournalist John Gibson established his first photographic studio in Penzance in 1860 before returning to the Scillies and bringing…
Vintage B&W photos of Paris, France (late 19th Century)

Vintage B&W photos of Paris, France (late 19th Century)

After the fall of the Commune, the city was governed under the strict surveillance of the conservative national government. The French government and parliament did not return to the city from Versaillles until 1879, though the Senate returned earlier to its home in the Luxembourg Palace. On 23 July 1873, the National Assembly endorsed the project of building a basilica…
Vintage: Ottawa – Capital City of Canada (late 19th Century)

Vintage: Ottawa – Capital City of Canada (late 19th Century)

Starting in the 1850s, large sawmills began to be erected by entrepreneurs known as lumber barons, and these became some of the largest mills in the world. Rail lines erected in 1854 connected Ottawa to areas south and to the transcontinental rail network via Hull and Lachute, Quebec in 1886. The original Parliament buildings which included the Centre, East and…
Vintage: Gum Bichromate Process by Robert Demachy (late 19th Century)

Vintage: Gum Bichromate Process by Robert Demachy (late 19th Century)

Robert Demachy was the leading French proponent of Pictorialism and the director of the Photo-Club de Paris, the French parallel to the American Photo-Secession (led by Alfred Stieglitz), the Viennese Kleeblatt, and the British Brotherhood of the Linked Ring. Like his American and European counterparts, Demachy produced and promoted a type of photography that self-consciously evoked drawing and painting-part of…
Historic B&W photos of Copenhagen, Denmark, late 19th Century

Historic B&W photos of Copenhagen, Denmark, late 19th Century

In 19th century, Copenhagen experienced a period of intense cultural creativity known as the Danish Golden Age. Painting prospered under C.W. Eckersberg and his students while C.F. Hansen and Gottlieb Bindesbøll brought a Neoclassical look to the city’s architecture. In the early 1850s, the ramparts of the city were opened to allow new housing to be built around The Lakes…
Vintage: Women’s Styles of Maine from the Late 19th Century

Vintage: Women’s Styles of Maine from the Late 19th Century

19th century fashions are highly romanticized in books and movies. Despite the prim and proper feminine ideal of the day, fashions in this period created an often exaggerated, ostentatious look. Tight corsets, gigantic hoop-skirts, and outrageous bustles make today’s fashion trends look sedate by comparison. These rare and interesting vintage photographs from Camden’s Knox Mill treasurer Charles W. Babb (1863-1956)…
Vintage: Daguerreotypes of St. Louis from 1848-70 by Thomas Easterly

Vintage: Daguerreotypes of St. Louis from 1848-70 by Thomas Easterly

Thomas Easterly (1809-1882), a native of Vermont, was an itinerant photographer in Iowa and the upper Midwest until 1848 when he settled in St. Louis. He operated a daguerreotype studio in the city until the 1870s. Thomas photographed mostly portrait, but street and urban photography were parts in his work. Here are some rare photographs capturing everyday life in St. Louis…
Historic B&W photos of Berlin, Germany (19th Century)

Historic B&W photos of Berlin, Germany (19th Century)

The Industrial Revolution transformed Berlin during the 19th century; the city’s economy and population expanded dramatically, and it became the main railway hub and economic centre of Germany. Additional suburbs soon developed and increased the area and population of Berlin. In 1861, neighboring suburbs including Wedding, Moabit and several others were incorporated into Berlin. In 1871, Berlin became capital of…
Vintage: Washington DC in the mid-19th Century (1840s-1860s)

Vintage: Washington DC in the mid-19th Century (1840s-1860s)

In the 1830s, the District’s southern territory of Alexandria went into economic decline partly due to neglect by Congress. The city of Alexandria was a major market in the American slave trade, and pro-slavery residents feared that abolitionists in Congress would end slavery in the District, further depressing the economy. Alexandria’s citizens petitioned Virginia to take back the land it…