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.
1. “Scenes Along The Mule Trail To Bogota, The Capital City Of Colombia”
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.
Another scene from De Gink, taken between 1910 and 1915.
4. “Coffee For 41st Bread Line”
Community member Pixel Wrangler gives this photograph (1910-1915) context:
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. 
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.
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:
7. “Astor Market – Demonstration Coffee”
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.