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How Old Photos Make Time Travel Possible

By Maureen A. Taylor


Taking a vacation isn’t new. Generations of our ancestors did the same thing (if they could take the time off work). Since it’s August and a good time for a trip of my own, I thought I’d share two older columns.


Mystery couple on vacation

A man bought this 1912 photo of a couple on vacation at Ireland’s Gap of Dunloe, and then put it on social media to see if anyone could identify the couple. So far no one has come forward, but maybe you know them. You can read the full story here.


Vacation destination stereographs

Before amateur cameras, booksellers and photo studios supplemented their income by selling photos of popular vacation sites.

This stereograph is composed of two nearly identical images, which when viewed through a stereopticon viewer, appear 3-D.

You can visit places of the past through old photos in the collections of the Library of Congress. Try searching the Prints and Photographs collection for names of places your family lived or traveled to.

Before I go on vacation, I often spend time looking at old photographs of the place so that I can appreciate how much a location has changed. It may sound strange, but it’s really fun.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor: