Did you know that a vintage snapshot provided author Ramson Riggs with inspiration for his best-selling book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children?
Browse through the following collections of vintage photographs, and, who knows, one picture might be the inspiration for YOUR best-selling novel!
The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress. The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings.
The National Archives site will keep you busy for hours with links to scores of additional vintage photo resources.
State Historical Societies
Search for any state historical society online, and you will find collections specific to the state and its cities.
In January of 2008, Flickr launched a new project aimed at increasing access to publicly held photography collections in civic institutions around the world. They called it The Commons. The idea was to provide a space for the public to contribute their historical knowledge to compliment the information the institutions already had.
Shorpy.com is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. It includes unusual, and even bizarre, photos not found in other sources.
Launched in 2000 as a place to share vintage family photos, this site now also includes family stories and even recipes. Photo tags make it easy to look for pictures of everything from cowboys to royalty.
OldPhotoArchive.com exists to preserve and share history by telling stories through old photos. Browse the Story Archive, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration!
And here are several other places to look:
Type in a decade or a specific year. You can also refine your search by topic (ex. 1940s fashion, cars, inventions, etc.)
Ebay is another source where you’ll find unique vintage photos (for sale). Search “vintage photographs” or “antique photos”. The collection is ever-changing.
Pinterest is the best site to find just about anything, and vintage photographs are no exception. Search “vintage photos” on Pinterest, and you’ll find plenty of pins that lead you to blog posts and other fascinating online destinations.
Visit my Pinterest board where I’ve collected photos of vintage Santas.
And a bonus site, not for photographs but for historical manuscripts online:
The Shapell Manuscript Foundation is an independent educational organization dedicated to the research, collection, and exhibition of original manuscripts and historical documents. The Foundation’s focus is on the histories of the United States and the Holy Land, with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Its extensive holdings include American presidents, especially Abraham Lincoln; Mark Twain; Albert Einstein; Custer and the Little Big Horn; and Theodor Herzl.
Now, get busy and start writing!
A picture is worth ten-thousand words.
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