The George Grantham Bain Collection

The George Grantham Bain Collection

Taking photos is a hobby that seems to involve a lot of people nowadays. Instagram is full of talented photographers who, thanks to their creativity, passion and artistic taste manage to turn their spare time’s favourite activity into a successful business. It may be that taking pictures has become simpler than ever, with digital technology making it possible virtually for everyone, but there’s a lot of rising completion in the field of photography with tons of good shutterbugs out there! Today, amateurs with a digital camera have more and more chances to become a published photographer more than ever. 

But how was it to work for the daily news scene a hundred years ago? Photographer George Grantham Bain, also known as "the father of foreign photographic news", own a place among legends of the camera between 1900s and 1930s. Together with his fellow lensmen Ozzie Sweet, Charles Conlon , George Burke, Carl Horner, Louis Van Oeyen and Paul Thompson, he left a legacy of images that used interpret and communicate an event through pictures. He was the ace of aces in photojournalism. True pioneer of his times, he immortalized a wide range of subjects: hard news stories and tragedies as well as political newsmakers, celebrities, sports and general human interest. Delivering thousands of his captured scenes to newspapers was his bread and butter. 

 Orphans going to Coney Island in Autos, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Orphans going to Coney Island in Autos, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 N.Y. Yacht Club Landing  Newport, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

N.Y. Yacht Club Landing  Newport, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Tripoli - Captured Arabs at Fountain of Bu Meliana ca. 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Tripoli - Captured Arabs at Fountain of Bu Meliana ca. 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 London strike. Truck under police protection -between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

London strike. Truck under police protection -between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Herman A. "Germany" Schaefer (1876-1919), 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  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Herman A. "Germany" Schaefer (1876-1919), 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  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Throngs of baseball fans crowd around a scoreboard in New York to watch for updates on a 1911 World Series game, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Throngs of baseball fans crowd around a scoreboard in New York to watch for updates on a 1911 World Series game, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Baseball’s all-time great pitchers, Christy Mathewson, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Baseball’s all-time great pitchers, Christy Mathewson, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Weavers at work, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Weavers at work, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Bugs Raymond, New York, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Bugs Raymond, New York, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 The iconic Bain News Agency's photograph of legend of baseball George Herman Ruth (aka "Babe Ruth" or the "Bambino"), during his final season with the Boston Red Sox, 1919 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

The iconic Bain News Agency's photograph of legend of baseball George Herman Ruth (aka "Babe Ruth" or the "Bambino"), during his final season with the Boston Red Sox, 1919 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Otis Clymer, 1909 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Otis Clymer, 1909 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Dynamite box at Indianapolis, ca. 1910  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Dynamite box at Indianapolis, ca. 1910  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Wreck of teachers train, 1911  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Wreck of teachers train, 1911  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Mrs. A. Scott Burden, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Mrs. A. Scott Burden, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Morse, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Morse, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Bain News Service photographs also captured politicians and human-interest subjects. In this picture: President Theodore Roosevelt around 10 days before the October 14, 1912, assassination attempt by John F. Schrank. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Bain News Service photographs also captured politicians and human-interest subjects. In this picture: President Theodore Roosevelt around 10 days before the October 14, 1912, assassination attempt by John F. Schrank. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 American tennis champion May Sutton, 1910s At age 17 she won the singles title at the U.S. National Championships and in 1905 she became the first American player to win the singles title at Wimbledon. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

American tennis champion May Sutton, 1910s
At age 17 she won the singles title at the U.S. National Championships and in 1905 she became the first American player to win the singles title at Wimbledon. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Hall of Fame second base and shortstop Rabbit Maranville, 1914 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Hall of Fame second base and shortstop Rabbit Maranville, 1914 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Outside Shibe Park in Philadelphia. A horde of fans crowding during their team’s losing World Series battle against the Boston Braves, 1914 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Outside Shibe Park in Philadelphia. A horde of fans crowding during their team’s losing World Series battle against the Boston Braves, 1914 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Formerly affiliated with the United Press, he founded his New York photo agency in 1898. The Bain News Service was one of America's earliest news picture agencies specialized in New York City news and covered, to a lesser degree, events in the eastern United States. It distributed its own pictures, as well as those purchased from other commercial agencies, to about one hundred newspapers across the US. It basically supplied photography to media outlets, both nationally and internationally. 

During the years of its activity, the Bain News Service pictures documented local sports events, theater, celebrities, crime, strikes, disasters, political activities including the woman suffrage campaign, conventions and public celebrations. It provided extensive news coverage, recorded by the approximately 40,000 glass plate negatives and 50,000 photographic prints. The George Grantham Bain Collection dates from the 1900s to the mid-1920s, but scattered images can be found as early as the 1860s and as late as the 1930s.
 

 Labor union parade, NY, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Labor union parade, NY, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Confetti throwing at the departure of "SS Geroge Washington" oceanliner from New York City, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Confetti throwing at the departure of "SS Geroge Washington" oceanliner from New York City, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Amb. Leishman and Queen of Italy at Rome International Exhibition in 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Amb. Leishman and Queen of Italy at Rome International Exhibition in 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Part of great central feature. Showing group of truth. Queen Victoria Memorial, London, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Part of great central feature. Showing group of truth. Queen Victoria Memorial, London, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

   Major League Baseball  ace Harry "Hal" Krause. He was a pitcher over parts of five seasons (1908–1912) with the Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Naps. He led the American League in earned run average in 1909 while playing for Philadelphia. For his career, he compiled a 36–26 record, with a 2.50 ERA and 289 strikeouts. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Major League Baseball ace Harry "Hal" Krause. He was a pitcher over parts of five seasons (1908–1912) with the Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Naps. He led the American League in earned run average in 1909 while playing for Philadelphia. For his career, he compiled a 36–26 record, with a 2.50 ERA and 289 strikeouts. (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Gorrie Guarded by Police on way home, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Gorrie Guarded by Police on way home, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Lord Leconfield and Coach, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Lord Leconfield and Coach, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Elphinstone Winning Washington marathon, 1911  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Elphinstone Winning Washington marathon, 1911  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 The Brox Sisters, posed with toy car. Left to right: Loryane, Bobbe, Patricia, 1920s (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

The Brox Sisters, posed with toy car. Left to right: Loryane, Bobbe, Patricia, 1920s (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Actress Doris Kenyon, ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Actress Doris Kenyon, ca. 1915 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Joe Dawson winning the 1912 Indianapolis 500 race, 1912 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Joe Dawson winning the 1912 Indianapolis 500 race, 1912 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Race car driver Bob Burman, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Race car driver Bob Burman, 1911 (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

 Actress Mildred Davis and her dog, 1921  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

Actress Mildred Davis and her dog, 1921  (The George Grantham Bain Collection - Library of Congress archive)

In 1948 the Library of Congress purchased the photographic files and today it offers Bain’s historical photograph collections through Flickr for everyone to see. Thanks to the Library of Congress for sharing some of The George Grantham Bain Collection’s most popular images!

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