8 Jaw Dropping Coffee Photographs From The Library...

8 Jaw Dropping Coffee Photographs From The Library Of Congress

library of congress

In 2008, in an effort to make its vast collections more accessible to the world, the Library of Congress joined the photo-sharing website Flickr. It’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole going through their collections online. With the help of Flickr members in the comment system, many photographs are given context by the larger community. We’ve found eight stunning coffee photographs from the early half of the 20th century. Take a look.

library of congress coffee

1. “Scenes Along The Mule Trail To Bogota, The Capital City Of Colombia

Laborers on a Colombian coffee plantation graced the cover of the December 13, 1903 edition of the (now-defunct) New York Tribune. 

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2. “Morning Coffee – Hotel De Gink”

Little information is given in this photograph taken between 1910 and 1915. The LoC says De Gink is “a hotel for ‘hobos’ and itinerant workers located at  Center & Worth Streets, the Bowery, New York City.

library of congress coffee 63. “Hotel De Gink – Coffee For Breakfast”

Another scene from De Gink, taken between 1910 and 1915.

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4. “Coffee For 41st Bread Line”

Community member Pixel Wrangler gives this photograph (1910-1915) context:

This is likely the “Knickerbocker Hotel Bread Line”. Opened in 1906, The Knickerbocker Hotel was located at 1466 Broadway at the southeast corner of 42nd Street in New York City, The new hotel had 556 rooms but was organized around the dining and entertaining rooms on the lower three floors — with 2,000 restaurant seats to feed the theater district traffic (with a gold dinner service for 48). [1]

The back door to the hotel was on 41st Street, and some of the unemployed and hungry men, women and children would line up there, where they were given a little something to eat.

As a run-up to America’s entering World War I, there was record unemployment in New York City, and the winter of 1914-1915 was especially hard. The New-York Tribune reported on February 05, 1915:

“More than 1,400 men and 93 women were fed yesterday afternoon In the Hotel Knickerbocker bread line. Eighteen overcoats and twenty-seven suits of clothes were distributed to the more destitute men in the line by guests of the hotel. Two hundred articles of wearing apparel donated by women employees and guests of the hotel were distributed among the needy women and girls who joined the pitiful procession.”

On some days, as many as 3,600 unemployed people would be waiting in the Knickerbocker Hotel bread line for something to eat. [2]

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Beyer “best dedicated ink for fountain pens”; Saman tea “finest English mix”; Kaffe Hag “caffeine free coffee”; Fr. Hulsemann-Barmen “Osiso”.

5. “Commercial & Foreign Packages”

Another photograph from 1910-1915 shows a selection of beautiful packaging – look at those designs, those typefaces! Look at that box of coffee! Gorgeous.

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6. “Free Coffee Wagon, Lotzen”

A turn-of-the-century European war time coffee pop-up.  Community member Artolog dropped a bit of Wikipedia knowledge on Lotzen:

Lötzen (Lec in Polish), was a town in Germany’s East Prussia located near the Germans’ Eastern Front in WWI. After World War II, it was made part of Poland and is now known as Giżycko.

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7. “Astor Market – Demonstration Coffee”

Who doesn’t love a good brew demo?

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8. “Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California sunshine, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.”

Pouring a cup from a stainless steel thermos. Community members surmise that this is a World War II era propaganda piece from the US Office of War. 

Fall into the glory of the Flickr Library of Congress rabbit hole.




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