Sunday, November 17, 2013

5 websites to find amazing historic and vintage photographs

1- New York City Municipal Archives

I love old photographs. That may be due to the fact that I am a history teacher but whatever the reason, I am mesmerized by them. Early last year, the New York City Municipal Archives released over 870,000 vintage photographs to the public on their webpage found here. I would encourage you to take some time just to peek at the collection because you are bound to find some amazing pictures. Alan Taylor from The Atlantic published over 100 of these historic photographs on the magazine's website in two separate collections. The first has 53 pictures and can be found here, while the second has 50 and can be seen here. I would strongly encourage everyone to take a look at these tremendous resources from New York City's past.


2- The Denver Post's Photo Blog

The Denver Post's Photo Blog's combination of high quality historic images and their relevant topics make their site one of my all time favorites. In 2009 they published a collection of 73 pictures about the Berlin Wall to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Wall's collapse. In commemoration for the Statue's 125th anniversary in 2011, they published a collection of pictures from the creation of the Statue of Liberty as well as many rare pictures of the Statue over its 125+ years of existence. The Denver Post photo blog features many more historic photo galleries that are a "must see" for history buffs and fans of old photography.


3- Retronaut

Retronaut is a website for people who love history. Not only that, it is a website for nostalgic people to relive fond childhood memories. Retronaut is one part history site and one part social media site. Much of the content is uploaded by the sites members and membership is free. At Retronaut, you can browse pictures from past decades and even past centuries. The site is searchable by decade, by topic and by search bar. Whether you love history or just like reminiscing about the past, Retronaut is a site you should check out. Be careful, you may end up spending hours of your day browsing all there is to see. Don't say you weren't warned.


4- Old Pictures

Old Pictures is a fantastic site that features an extensive collection of historic photographs from the 1850's through the 1940's. They have sorted their pictures into three categories; themed collections, picture collections, and defining moments. The website also contains an extensive library of old maps dating as far back as the 1300's. Their map collection is sorted by date, nation, and state. Social studies teachers need to set aside time to view these great vintage images. Old Pictures compilation of old photographs and maps makes for an excellent resource for teachers  students, and people who cherish the past.


5- Life Magazine Photo Collection

The final site I would like to share is the Life Magazine historic photo collection hosted by Google. This site offers millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published but are available on this terrific website. You can choose a decade or use the accompanying search bar to find what you are looking for. If you love history or vintage photography, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time at Life Magazine's photo collection.


  1. Also worth checking out Flickr ( There are several interest groups dealing with historic photos from around the world and contributors include official archives from several countries.