These photos are all from the Public Vaults collection found under National Archives Exhibits in the ARC Gallery of archives.gov. Once I reached the Public Vaults page, I refined my search by de-selecting all but “Photographs & Other Graphic Materials,” which dropped the number of results from 1,049 to 504.
The 504 images are not, as best I can tell, organized in any particular way. This makes for a random browse. To preserve the feel of visiting these pages, I haven’t imposed any order on the images I’ve selected for this sampling, either.
Credit pictures to National Archives/ARC ID number.
Photograph of a Lifeboat Carrying Titanic Survivors, 05/14/1912. ARC Identifier 278337
From ARC: This is a photograph of a lifeboat carrying Titanic shipwreck survivors. Original caption: “Boat No 6, 16, 11 women, 6 men, Miss Bowerman, Mrs. J. J. Brown, Mrs. Candee, Mrs. Cavendish, Mrs. Cavendish (Maid), Mrs. Meyer, Miss Norton, Mrs. Rothchild, Mrs. L. P. Smith, Mrs. Stine & Maid, Hitching Q. M.”
This is the grimmest wedding party I have ever seen:
Photograph of a Group in Front of Metlakahtla Christian Mission Church Following a Wedding Ceremony in Metlakahtla, Alaska . ARC Identifier 297667
This next one looks like a cross between a junior high science fair project and an audition for a “Price is Right” hostess, but it is neither: it’s advice on stocking your personal bomb shelter.
Survival Supplies for the Well-Stocked Fallout Shelter. ARC Identifier 542103 /Local Identifier 311-D-9(2)
No one is keeping his eyes on the man climbing the ladder, and even he is more interested in the photographer than in doing whatever made him climb that rickety ladder.
Photograph of Men Testing the Subsurface by Drilling with Diamond Drills, 08/1910. ARC Identifier 596095
Most of the time you see “Whites Only” signs in pre-Civil Rights era photos. But here’s one with: “Colored Only Police Order.”
Photograph of a Shack for Negroes Only at Belle Glade, Florida, 04/1945. ARC Identifier 594942
Don’t those hands look weird? I’m not convinced that the hands belong to the heads, if you know what I mean.
Enemy Ears Are Listening. ARC Identifier 514209
I don’t know what the story is behind this:
Jell-O Box Exhibit Used in the Espionage Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell, 03/06/1951 – 03/29/1951. ARC Identifier 278774
Yet another example of an exercise in futility:
Photograph of Prohibition Agents Destroying a Bar. ARC Identifier 595674 / Local Identifier 306-NT-727-16
Workman on the Framework of the Empire State Building. ARC Identifier 518290
Photograph of Sketch of a D-Day Dress – Platoon Leader. ARC Identifier 596375 / MLR Number NM3 427
Photograph of Flag Bearer for Women’s Rights Standing Near White House. ARC Identifier 594266
Photograph of Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House, 12/21/1970. ARC Identifier 1634221