Dating Vintage Photos – Follow Friday

Dating Vintage Photos – Follow Friday

Dating Vintage Photos Sassy Jane GenealogyAtkins Family, Lincoln, Vermont (courtesy Landscape Change Program, University of Vermont)

Dating vintage photos can be a challenge, but helpful resources are available, like the image archives at the Landscape Change Program at the University of Vermont. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Landscape Change Program collects historic images to document how the Vermont landscape has changed over time. There are now more than 70,000 images in the collection, providing a treasure trove for local historians and genealogists in Vermont.

Fortunately for family historians, the university’s Landscape Change Program also offers resources to help date your own vintage photographs taken in the United States.

Almost every element of a vintage photograph can be a clue. The Landscape Change Program does a great job with these elements: men’s and women’s clothing, hats, hairstyles, fashion accessories; the built environment; machinery and cars. When available, a current photograph of the same place is also included.

Their resources are conveniently separated into decades:

1850s | 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s1930s | 1940s | 1950s

To search the archive, click here. If you’d like to create albums to help your research, you can register as a user at the Landscape Change Program at this link.

And the program is also actively seeking historic images of Vermont. If you have scans of Vermont photographs you would like to contribute, please click here.

A few weeks ago, I posted about dating photographs using Library of Congress resources. I think the University of Vermont’s site is another useful resource as we all work on those mysterious photos in our family collections.. Stay tuned for more resources on dating vintage photos in future blog posts.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Cari Thomas 8 November 2013 at 5:06 PM - Reply

    Superb website and kudos to the State of Vermont! Happily those of us with no ancestry in Vermont can utilize the full resources of this website anyhow! While there may be Vermont-only items within the wide parameters of the site, most fashions and styles found in Vermont were also found in much of the US Northeast, at the least.

    Nancy, thanks for locating this goodie!

    Cari Thomas

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