Thursday, March 19, 2015

Finding the address of a historical photograph.

For your historical photo research assignment, you will select a photograph from a series of databases provided in Blackboard and revisit that site to photograph it today.

So how do you find the location of a photograph? I have two photos here from Yale's Photogrammar database. Both are FSA photos taken in 1935.

Consider photo number one:

A Walker Evans photograph of New Orleans. Original LOC ref:
If we look at this photograph, we see a number of signs. On the LOC site, you can download a VERY high resolution version of the photo. This will help you read things. First you will notice a street sign that reads "N. Front Street." This narrows things down - you have one of your cross streets already. The next obvious thing to look up is the Sun Coffee Shop in the 1935 city directory. Unfortunately that is not in the directory. Notice the "Luzianne" sign. On the bottom it says "Adams." This we find in the directory:

In the Restaurant heading toward the back of the 1935 City Directory, we find Adams, Albert L. at 215 Canal Street.
If we look at Google Maps, we see that the intersection of N. Front Street and Canal Street no longer exists. The Shops at Canal Place now occupy this site:

Here is the second photograph:

Another Walker Evans image from 1935. Taken on the same day? Link to Photogrammar reference:
This time we have no street sign telling us where this is. But we do have a number of store signs and the 1935 City Directory. From this we learn that the Southern Seed and feed is at 827 Decatur. Here we find it in the alphabetical section of the City Directory.

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