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Collection Bain Collection

Bain Photos

Bain Photos - Rich Subject Matter, Sparse Information

The George Grantham Bain photographs came to the Library of Congress with very little description. In an effort to make digital images of this large body of materials available as quickly as possible, most of the glass negatives are presented primarily with the information that came with them.

  • The Bain News Service provided some information on the glass negatives and on caption cards.
  • While entering the data, no attempt was made to standardize names, spell out abbreviations, or to research the image.

Additional descriptive information and subject terms will be added to the records as more resources are available. Corrections to miscaptioned and misdated photos are generally made as they are reported. In the meantime, we offer the following searching tips.

Search Tips

  • Look for individuals' last names - If you are searching for portraits, you will retrieve the most hits by entering only the last name of the person being sought. For example, a general search for "Pickford" will retrieve more images of the famous actress Mary Pickford than specific searches for "Mary Pickford."
  • Look for names rather than categories - Try the names of people involved in a particular occupation or the names of countries, ships, and leaders engaged in a war. The original captions do not systematically include words for general categories such as "actors" or "war," so searches using such words do not find all that's available.
  • Try general, one-word subject terms - Several thousand images have one basic subject tag to highlight a place name, sport, or event. For example, you will find records that include these terms: Airplanes, Chicago, Children, and Football.

Image Sampler - What You Can Find and How

Here's a sampler of the types of pictures the collection includes, along with the information that accompanies the images, and ideas for finding additional images on that theme.

Bain's News Service Operations

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
G.G. Bain
Drawing of Bain?
Negative: "G.G. Bain - JMF " - no date

Caption card: "Drawing of Bain?" - no date
(We added: George Grantham Bain (caricature) by James Montgomery Flagg.)
Bain printing service?
Negative: No identification - no date

Caption card: "Bain printing service?" - no date

(We added: Probably shows printing of Bain News Service photos, between 1900 and 1915)
Subscription to Daily Illus. News
Caption card: "Subscription to Daily Illus. News [Geo. Grantham Bain]" - no date Text of subscription form says:
"We will take your Daily Illustrated News Service for one year beginning March 29, 1910 at the rate of $30.00 a month. We understand that you will supply us on each day of the month, excepting Sundays and holidays, about eight photographs, and (if desired by us), a card index system for filing them. These photographs to be sent to us in the ordinary package mail. We agree that these photographs will be used in no paper except the Toronto Star. We will supply you from time to time a reasonable number of local pictures as convenient, and in return for this you will furnish us from your stock a reasonable number of such special pictures as it is possible for you to send as requested by us. We will put you on our mailing list to receive our daily and Sunday paper regularly …"


Baseball: Special thanks go to the Pictorial History Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) External and its members Bill Carle, Joe Dittmar, Bill Hickman, Bill Loughman, Joe Murphy, Tom Shieber, and Mark Stang for reviewing the entire collection to identify more than 2,300 baseball-related images and providing dates and player identifications.

Search terms to try for other sports: Many (but not all) records indicate the type of sport, including Basketball, Billiards, Boxing, Crew (Rowing), Cycling,Fencing, Football, Golf, Racing, Swimming, Tennis, Track athletics, and Wrestling. Searching for the surnames of individual players will uncover even more sports-related photos.

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Schaefer, Washington
Negative and caption card "Schaefer, Washington" - several dates, some indecipherable

(We added: "Photo shows Herman A. 'Germany' Schaefer (1877-1919), one of the most entertaining characters in baseball history, trying out the other side of the camera during the Washington Senators visit to play the New York Highlanders in April, 1911. Germany Schaefer, a versatile infielder and quick baserunner, played most of his career with the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Senators.")
Elmer Collins, 12/5/12
Negative and caption card: "Elmer Collins, 12/5/12"

(We added: "Cycling")
Carlisle vs. Syracuse
Negative: "Carlisle vs. Syracuse" - no date

Caption card : "Carlisle v. Syracuse" - no date

(We added: "Football")
Miss Moore - tennis
Negative: "Miss E. Moore" - no date

Caption card: "Miss Moore [tennis]" - no date


Search terms to try: Air pilots, Airplanes, Balloons (Aircraft), Boats, Ships (and types of ships, e.g., Cruisers), Horses, Trains, Railroads, Railway, Autos, Cars.

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Clifford B. Harmon. Seated in airplane.
Negative: "Clifford B. Harmon" - no date

Caption card: "Clifford B. Harmon. Seated in airplane" - no date
Scandinavians on deck of liner
Negative: Scandinavians on 'United States,' 6/10/04"

Caption card: "Scandinavians on deck of liner 'United States,' 6/10/04"

(We added:"Ships")
R.R. train, Shanghai
Negative and caption card: "R.R. train, Shanghai" - no date
Ice auto
Negative and caption card: "Ice Auto" - no date


Search terms to try: Convention, Parades, Strikes, Fires, Suffrage, Red Cross, War (also, Artillery, battleship names and types of military vessels, e.g., Destroyer, Cruiser).

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Passaic - strikers leave mill
Negative and caption card: "Passaic - strikers leave mill" - no date

(We estimated the date at between 1910 and 1915.)
Putting out fire in Bain News Service Bldg. 1/6/12
Negative:"Putting out fire in Bain News Service Bldg. 1/6/12"

No caption card.
Mast of Maine
Negative and caption card: "Mast of 'Maine'" - no date

(We added: "Ships" and estimated the date at between 1910 and 1915. )


Search terms to try: Children, Family, Men, Boy, Women, Girl, Mrs., Miss, Mr., Group, Street, Theatrical.

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Licking blocks of ice on hot day
Negative and caption card: "Licking blocks of ice on hot day" - no date

(We added: "Children" and estimated the date at between 1910 and 1915. )
Mrs. Townsend & Mrs. McCann

Negative: "Mrs. Jas. Townsend & Mrs. Chas. McCann" - no date

Caption card : "Mrs. Townsend & Mrs. McCann" - no date
Street vendor showing Christmas toys to boys 23rd., St. New York
Negative: "Selling Xmas toys on street" and "...23 St. N.Y." - no date

Caption card : "Street vendor showing Christmas toys to boys 23rd., St. New York" - 12/7/08


Search tip: Look for last names. First names may be abbreviated or absent. For royalty, try title and country (e.g., Queen Bulgaria) - names may be absent.

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Jas. Montgomery Flagg
Negative: "Jas. Montgomery Flagg" - no date
No caption card
Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks
Negative: "Pickford & Fairbanks" - no date

Caption card: "Pickford and Fairbanks" - no date
Col. Charles A. Lindbergh
Negative and caption card: "Col. C.A. Lindbergh" - no date
Queen of Bulgaria
Negative and caption card: "Queen of Bulgaria" - no date


Search tip: Try names of places spelled out and abbreviated (e.g., "Penn." for Pennsylvania). Try names of cities and towns as well as states and countries.

Sample Image Information that came with the negative
Pennsylvania Del., Chicago
Negative and caption card: "Penn. Del. - Chic. " - no date

(We added: "Chicago" and estimated the date at between 1910 and 1915. )
Hot day at Coney Island
Negative and caption card: "Hot day at Coney Island" - no date
Warsaw -- Russians collecting copper etc
Negative and caption card: "Warsaw -- Russians collecting copper etc." - no date