Time Travel Vacations Using Stereographs

Time Travel Vacations Using Stereographs

December 8 is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. We've got tips to help you travel back in history and peek into the world of our ancestors!

This summer one of the most popular books is another installment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (soon to be a mini-series). The story revolves around a World War II nurse who falls through a crack in time in a stone circle and ends up in mid-eighteenth century Scotland.

We don’t have to visit a stone circle to time travel. Photographs let us peek into the world of our ancestors.

Previous generations took time to enjoy the season whether they traveled afar or to the nearest water venue. Many of the places our ancestors visited are no longer standing.

For instance, residents and visitors to Philadelphia went to the Smith’s Hotel and swimming pool on Smith’s Island. The whole island is now gone. The island once stood in the middle of the Delaware River. In the 1890s the U.S. government removed both Smith’s Island and Windmill Island. You can read more about the venue on Philadelphia’s Lost Islands. It’s also possible to see what the swimming hole looked like by browsing the Library of Congress photo collection.


The bright green card stock of this stereograph dates it to the mid to later 1860s when this color was common. In 1868, card manufacturers began rounding the corners. This card still has square corners.

A stereo card features two nearly identical images that appear 3D when viewed through a special viewer. This is the nineteenth century version of going to the movies wearing those special glasses.


Here’s one side of the image showing men using the slide.

Take a trip into the past by browsing the Library of Congress site. Start by searching a place name. Then select an image. When you do this is what you’ll see.

You’ll be able to select the size of the image you can download. Options are underneath the image. Cataloging information includes the photographer’s name, date of publication and usage facts. On the lower half of the page you’ll see links for subject, format and collections. At the very bottom you can click the bookmark link so you can revisit the same page.

These links make it very easy to view other images on a similar topic such as “Swimming pools–Pennsylvania–Philadelphia–1860-1870.” Or if you want to see more stereographs from the 1860s click that link.

It’s easy to take an armchair trip into the past using stereo views. Try it and see.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

 

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