The 10 best Philadelphia images from new Life Magazine Google archive

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Google announced its hosting of 10 million Time-Life photographs last month.

The Google Life-magazine archive is a sign of more to come, but is pretty cool already. I’ve chosen five of the better images I found by checking “Philadelphia source: Life” in a Google image search. (hat tip to 10,000 words)

Right now, there are more than 200 items for Philadelphia, though the search seems to have some quirks. I couldn’t find items during one search, but if I used the same search terms ten minutes later, it might appear – other times, no Philadelphia images would register at all. Things that will be corrected I will imagine. Whether more items are to be added I don’t know, but for now, the oldest is a painting of a scene from the 1790s and the photos run to the 1980s.

See my ten favorites below, in chronological order.

Politician William C. Bullitt standing in front of run down houses during his campaign for mayor of Philadelphia. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman, October 1943)
Politician William C. Bullitt standing in front of run down houses during his campaign for mayor of Philadelphia. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman, October 1943)

I really wish I could find the address of this building. Hell, it might still be standing, waiting onmotion from Licenses and Inspections.

There are a number of photos of Bullitt, so I imagine Life wrote a profile on his failed mayoral bid – the Democrat and future U.S. Ambassador to France and the Soviet Union lost to Bernard Samuel, Philadelphia’s last Republican chief executive. Another good one of Bullitt can be seen here, where he stands in front of a crumbling Carpenter’s Hall. It stands today and the Hall, built in 1790 and home of the oldest union in the country, was a central focus of the major rehabilitation of Indepenence Mall and Society Hill that didn’t come until the late 1960s.

Battleships at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during World War II. (George Strock, 1942)
Battleships at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during World War II. (George Strock, 1942)

Of course, the Naval Yard has been one of the most important Philly landmarks you’ll never visit. Check this cool shot of interesting art outside one of the landmarks you will visit.

Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack (C) w. his team at ballpark during game vs. New York Yankees on day in his honor (Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1947)
Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack (C) w. his team at ballpark during game vs. New York Yankees on day in his honor (Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1947)
The interior of Senator Paul Douglas campaign headquarters in Philadelphia at the John Bartram with rent sign in window, after Harry Truman won the Democratic Presidential nomination. (Francis Miller, July 1948)
The interior of Senator Paul Douglas’ campaign headquarters in Philadelphia at the John Bartram with “rent” sign in window, after Harry Truman won the Democratic Presidential nomination. (Francis Miller, July 1948)
The Philadelphia Phillies meeting. (Ralph Morse, March 3, 1950)
The Philadelphia Phillies meeting. (Ralph Morse, March 3, 1950)

There are about a billion cool shots of the Phillies, including this one, which is probably my actual favorite of them (and old timey shots like here and here). There are some of the Eagles, none of the Flyers, and a couple of Wilt Chamberlain on the 76ers that pained me not to include but you should check out here.

Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower as she facing crowd in Philadelphia for Republican National Convention. (Hank Walker, September 1952)
Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower facing the crowd in Philadelphia for Republican National Convention. (Hank Walker, September 1952)
Rocky Marciano lands a left hook on Jersey Joe Walcott in this World Heavyweight championship bout in Philadelphia. (Y. Joel, Sept. 23, 1952)
Rocky Marciano lands a left hook on “Jersey” Joe Walcott in this World Heavyweight championship bout in Philadelphia. (Y. Joel, Sept. 23, 1952)

This surprise victory for Marciano made him the only undefeated, undisputed world heavyweight champion in boxing history. This is a fantastic shot by Life, but, I have to say, I think they were beat by UPI.

Temple University basketball player Guy Rogers (fore R) playing against Villanova College (George Silk, February 1958)
Temple University basketball player Guy Rogers (fore R) playing against Villanova College (George Silk, February 1958)

Is that classic Big Five basketball in the Palestra?

Comedian Bill Cosby (R) visting older man in his old neighborhood. (Photo by Charles H. Phillips, 1968)
Comedian Bill Cosby (R) visting older man in his old neighborhood. (Photo by Charles H. Phillips, 1968)
Cartoonist Tony Auth in his office at the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Photo by Ted Thai in September 1980)
Cartoonist Tony Auth in his office at the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Photo by Ted Thai in September 1980)

I love photography portraits. There are a number of Auth, so I imagine Life did a profile of the Pulitzer Prize-winner. This is my favorite of the batch.

What are your favorites from Philadelphia or elsewhere? Let me know below.

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