The First Rule of Historical Photo Research

In the 1900s, cameras often used glass plates. You could not take too many of them on a trip. Fragile and heavy, glass plates had to be rationed and used for the most exiting encounters. In other words, no matter how common the picture appears to you today, it probably captures something important--a popular tourist attraction, a significant event, or a renowned individual. We call it the First Rule of Historical Photo Research. Just look for the right clues. This blog tells stories of some difficult to recognize photos from our collection. Discovering their stories is a delightful detective job. So get out your magnifying glasses and let's go!

How It All Began

"My historical photo collection now numbers more than 30,000 items, but it began modestly as a project to study the history of my hometown, Bogorodsk, about 40 miles from Moscow, Russia. This town is dominated by textile mills, which once belonged to a merchant family of the Morozovs. My interest naturally led to everything associated with that family: their social world, art collections, and projects. Thus, gradually I discovered the rich and fascinating Russian entrepreneurial culture of the 1900s. In the Soviet Russia of 1970s, however, any interest in the “bourgeoisie” past was viewed with suspicion and fraught with some risk. Things began to change in the early 1990s, when I could, at l

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Images from this site can be used free in any form for non-commercial purposes and with a reference to ZolotarevArchives by name or link.


If used for scholarly or news publication, we kindly request a courtesy link or a gratis copy of the publication.

Please contact us for suggestions on how our hi-res images can be used in your project.

Photos from our collection have been used in publications, for marketing, to decorate historic buildings and offices, and for other commercial purposes.

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