Wouldn’t it be a conversation starter to display in your office or home a 1914 photo of Houdini greeting President Theodore Roosevelt aboard a transatlantic steamer? Or one of the earliest aerial views of Manhattan, Boston or San Francisco?
Researcher and historian James Lantos launched Snapshots of the Past (snapshotsofthepast.com), a unique online museum and retail site offering archival quality reproductions of historic Americana. Visitors to the site can browse 100,000 images in curated galleries, including rare photos, illustrations, advertisements, and manuscripts, originally housed at the Library of Congress. Also available are blog and social media posts that combine scholarly research with an appreciation for nostalgic subjects.
Lantos wants to use this visual archive to create appealing content for everyone, from history buffs to the casually curious. He states, “The site is a browser’s paradise. A goal of ours has been to broaden the reach and exposure of some of the Library’s rarest and most beautiful collections.”
Visitors to the site can search images by place, event or historical figure and view detailed information about the date, artist, photographer, and original Library of Congress citations.
Prints of all images are available for purchase and are printed in accordance with museum quality standards using archival paper and inks. This effort results in prints with a life span of over 200 years, as determined by the Wilhelm Imaging Research Institute.
Satisfied customers range from nostalgia-minded individuals, delighted to find images of their ancestors or hometowns, to more prominent buyers such as the Mayor of Miami Beach, the President of Panama, The New York Public Library, various National Park sites and Ivy League universities, NBC, HBO, the National Heritage Museum, Gettysburg Gift Center, and over 200 bookshops and retailers. In 2008, Lantos’ company was selected as a print vendor evaluated for the White House redecoration project. He also spent several years editing 16 illustrated books devoted to themes of Library of Congress imagery published by Applewood Books.