2 Steps for Finding Free Old Cat Photos at LOC.gov

By Diane Haddad

Sometimes you just need a cheerful cat photo. So because today is National Happiness Happens Day, and because at least one place says it’s International Cat Day (other sources give that honor to Oct. 29), here are some cute vintage cat photos I came across in the Library of Congress online collection of digitized photos, maps and more.

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They were taken in 1914 by Harry Whittier Frees.

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Would you believe the Library of Congress has a subject line for “Animals in Human Situations”? Searching the Library of Congress Digital Collections (get Library of Congress photo search tips here) helps you find old photos related to places and events in your family history. And once you find a photo you like, here are two good ways to find more pictures like it:

1. Subject search

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Just scroll down on the catalog listing of the picture you like to the part that says Subjects, which lists all the subject terms assigned to that photo in the library catalog. Click on the subject that fits your needs to bring up all photos categorized with that same subject.

Chances are, you’re not researching old cat photos. But subject terms also might be the name of a city, county or neighborhood where your ancestor lived; an event (such as Civil War); an activity (sewing); a type of item (map or daguerreotype); or something else (sod houses, churches, domestic life).

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2. See more like this

And if you keep scrolling down on the page with a photo you like, you’ll see a lineup of other, thumbnail-size, photos that are similar to the one you’re viewing.

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You can see the all the Animals in Human Situations photos here. Good news! If you’re not a cat person, Frees photographed dogs doing people things as well.

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