Yesterday afternoon, I struck pure gold.
For a writer and wanna-be legacy book-builder, that is. Particularly one who has been scrounging for quality images critical to telling a story stretching back 120 years.
The funny thing about historical events is that those living them–including ourselves, right now–don’t always foresee the impact that everyday actions will have on the future. And with the exception of Matthew Brady’s very few frontier counterparts, there weren’t a lot of people wandering around Colorado with cameras in the late 1800s.
So, as I’m whining to Brian, a young tech-savvy designer (www.dtgcreative.com) about the absence of images and the expensive, day-wasting hoops one must jump through to obtain decent copies, he utters one simple phrase: “Library of Congress.”
A half-hour later, I hit the motherlode: http://www.loc.gov. I found the photo above, taken about 1885 in downtown Denver. (The side-by-side images produced a 3-D scene when viewed on a stereopticon.) I also found photos from the mining camps along Cripple Creek, early Cheyenne encampments, pics of wealthy railway passengers from the turn-of-the-last-century and a host of other hot shots. For free. High res. No waiting. And having saved so much time ;-), I got permission from my boss (me) to play on the site for a while.
If you feel like playing…
to see some great old baseball cards, sure to get you ready for opening day.
Or click here http://www.loc.gov/families/ for fun stuff to view with your kids and grandkids.
Or here http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/afcphhtml/afcphhome.html if you’d like to hear what people on the street were thinking the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Anyway, this afternoon, I intend to check out the newspapers they have from big and small towns across the country, some dating back to the late 1600s. That’s where I was heading yesterday when my supervisor told me to get back to work.
She can be such a pain.