Library of Congress photography

I know I have featured the amazing photography collection of the Library of Congress more than once in the past, but am not sure if I have featured its blog, Picture This. Here are some recent entries:

A Window on the Bolshevik Revolution

February 23rd, 2012 by Kristi Finefield

When James Maxwell Pringle departed for Russia in November 1917, his intent was to visit the Petrograd (St. Petersburg) branch of his employer, National City Bank. His business trip turned into an unexpected window on the Bolshevik Revolution. Arriving in Petrograd in the days just after the October Revolution, when Bolshevik forces overthrew the Russian …


Petrograd – Scenes of the burial of the victims of the March Revolution on the Field of Mars. Photos by James Maxwell Pringle, betw. 1917 and 1918. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31329

Arriving in Petrograd in the days just after the October Revolution, when Bolshevik forces overthrew the Russian Provisional Government, the photo album Pringle compiled is peppered with the effects of the conflict.  His photographs in Moscow, Petrograd, and other Russian cities show bullet-riddled buildings, prisoners, parades and marches, ceremonies to memorialize those killed and everyday Russians living amidst the turmoil.

Moscow – Results of the Fighting. Photo by James Maxwell Pringle, betw. 1917 and 1918. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31325

This photo album was a recent gift to the Prints and Photographs Division by Pringle’s nephew, Robert M. Pringle, and offers a unique outsider’s perspective on the internal conflict that eventually reshaped Russia into the Soviet Union.  The photos document his travels through Russia and into Asia over the course of many months as he made his way back to the U.S. with a group of travel companions.

Pringle’s album joins the Library’s strong collections of personal photo albums and extensive research resources on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. A selection of images from the album has been digitized and the full album can be viewed by appointment in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

Learn More:

Visible Resistance: Civil Rights Photographs

February 1st, 2012 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

Students at the Woolworth's lunch counter on the second day of the sit-in, Greensboro, North Carolina

Students at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on the second day of the sit-in, Greensboro, North Carolina. UPI photo, 1960 Feb. 2. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.08095

On February 1, 1960, four young men sat down at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and ordered coffee and doughnuts.  More than fifty years later, this may not seem like a daring act, but it was.  First the waitress and then the store manager explained that the lunch counter was reserved for white people and that they could not serve the four freshmen from the nearby Agricultural & Technical College, because they were African American.

The four men– Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Joseph McNeil–refused to leave, and the next day fellow students joined the sit-in. As news of the protest spread, African Americans sat down at segregated lunch counters elsewhere in the South, and picketers demonstrated in front of Woolworth stores in New York City, even though segregation was not practiced at their lunch counters.

One-man demonstration at a closed lunch counter in Nashville

One-man demonstration at a closed lunch counter in Nashville. UPI photo, 1960 March 25. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c35490

Protest by ministers

Protest by ministers. AP photo, 1960. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.08096

Photographs of the sit-ins distributed by the news wire services convey the resolve of the students, the hostile reaction they endured, as well as the impact on lunch counter business.  The images helped raise  awareness of racial injustice and growing resistance to it.  Today they offer a continuing reminder of the many individual acts of courage that made up the Civil Rights movement.

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C.

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C. Photo by Warren K. Leffler for U.S News & World Report, 1963 Aug. 28. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.04297

Our pictorial collections document many events of the Civil Rights era.  We have digitized quite a few of the images, and  hundreds more can be viewed with an on-site visit.  Because of rights considerations, many digitized images from the period display only in small size outside Library of Congress buildings, but we also have images that have no known restrictions on publication, with digital images that can be seen in greater detail from anywhere.  We have assembled a selection of such images in our reference aid, “The Civil Rights Era in the U.S. News & World Report Photographs Collection: A Select List .”

As we begin African American History Month, we hope that the pictures and many other resources of the Library of Congress offer an opportunity to learn and to reflect.

Learn more:

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Here is something related to imagery, war, the Bolshevik Revolution, etc. I’m sure you’ll find things to disagree with. This line was particularly off-putting even for a staunch anticommunist like myself:

    “The Allies thus arranged for surrendered German troops to remain in place and help prevent the Russian Bolshevik infection from spreading.”

    Nevertheless, I thought you might be interested:

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/113496

  2. Excellent stuff! I must take a look at the LOC database

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