Lost Photos
(an IRS-registered 501c3 charitable non-profit corporation)

  • Our Mission                                   

    Our Mission

    To collect and preserve historical photos and other media, make the material available to the public online at no cost, and return the material to surviving family members on request.

  • A Word From John                                   

    A Word From John

    I started collecting lost photos after doing a project for my father.  He was keeper of the Perkins family archives, storing several generations of family photos.  A few years ago I set about scanning the entire archive, around 23,000 photos I think.  I finished that project and gave him a copy of the complete archive.  I sometimes ask him about some of those pictures (Who is this?  When did that happen?  Do you remember such-and-such happening?) but it bugs me that we don't know who a lot of the people are in the older photos.

    I visit auctions, swapmeets, and thrift stores and I occasionally find photo albums or packets of photos from a few years back to over 100 years ago.  It bugs me the same way as my family archive- so many memories, so much time, so much history lost, all these photos destined for...what, a dumpster in back of some anonymous junk store?

    I started this project because I wanted to preserve what I could of the lives and memories of the people that took these photos.

    There is an extensive FAQ here.  If you have any questions or complaints, that's where to start.

    Click on the link for each family under the Photos tab to see the page for that family.

    If you are one of the people in these photos, if you know any of the people in these photos, or if you still have any questions, please contact me here.

    >>> If there is any information you want to add to this site- especially genealogy info- please contact me here.

  • Photos                                   


    Family 1  (my family)

    Since the rule of thumb for this page is to include photos that are at least 20-25 years old, most of the Family 1 photos are from the 1970's and 1980's. I haven't included the Perkins family archive because there are a number of people in them that I know and who are currently alive.  I know the photographers for many of these photos.  In creating this page, for Family 1, I am working under several conditions requested by various people as to which photos I can and can't post.  For this reason, the Family 1 photos posted here consist mainly of a trolley museum, cats, my early childhood, and my high school (graduated 1989). There are currently (as of April 1, 2016) 151 images in this set.

    Family 2
    Nothing written on the backs of these photos.  99 images in this set.

    Family 3
    Many notes.  265 images in this set.

    Family 4
    Many notes.  1,447 images in this set.

    Family 5
    A few notes.  419 images in this set.

    Family 6
    A few notes.  254 images in this set.

    Family 7
    Many notes.  747 images in this set.

    Family 7A
    From a montage included with family 7.  10 images in this set.

    Family 8
    148 images in this set.

    Family 9
    29 images in this set.

    Family 10
    45 images in this set.

    Family 11
    78 images in this set.

    Family 12
    305 images in this set.

    Family 13
    118 images in this set.

    Family 14
    48 images in this set.

    Family 15
    479 images in this set.

    Family 16
    517 images in this set.

    Family 17
    87 images in this set.

    Family 18
    Schloesser Family
    1,344 images in this set.

    Family 19,  Family 19-A
    2,585 images in this set.

    Family 20
    Caulfield/Ritter/Southard Family
    619 images in this set.

    Family 21
    1,989 images in this set.

    Family 22
    1,535 images in this set.

  • Donations


    If you have a batch of photos that you want to donate, please contact us here.  You can get an invoice and declare the photos as charitable donations on your taxes.

    If you are a person or company and you want to donate equipment, you can get an invoice and declare that as a charitable contribution as well.  We currently have several 8.5 x 11 flatbed scanners and a Wolverine single slide scanner.  We could use any flatbed scanner with a larger surface area and/or a slide scanner with an automatic feeder.  Please contact us here.

    If you want to donate funds to Lost Photos, please click on the donate button below.  Contributions go toward equipment, increased hosting space, and scanning hours/employee time.  If we get an angel donor, our goals include at least 1 full time employee and perpetual hosting for the photos.

    Here is our donations page at Crowdrise.


Want to donate?

April 2019
Family 22 is up.  It's the Doull / Tothill / Redman / Bailey family.  1,535 images in this set.

March 2019
Donations page up and running at Crowdrise.

January 2019

Family 21 is up again, now with 1,989 images in this set.  I thought the first packet of photos, 343 of them, was a separate family, in a larger box with packets of photos from other families.  I was wrong.  This is probably still a multi-family group of photos, but there are photos from the same family in different packets.


January 2019

Family 21 is up.  It's the Hoiten family.  343 images in this set.


July 2018

Just posted Family 20, which appears to be the Caulfield / Ritter / Southard family.  619 images in this set.


May 2018

Scanned all of slides so I could put them in storage.  About 16,000 slides when I get around to formatting and posting them.

Just posted family 19, a multi-family batch of photos.  Found one real-life family, whose photos won't be posted.  Their photos will be returned to them for free. 

Family 19 is split into two pages.  Family 19 has photos I couldn't separate into sub-groups.  Family 19-A has photos I could separate into sub-groups.  2,585 images in this set.

August 2017

I collect photos, then try to find living family members and return the photos, then (if I can't find living family members) scan and post the photos.  I've been collecting new batches of photos these last few months.  Currently closer to 30,000 new photos, at max capacity in my work area, so it's time to shift to scanning.

Just posted family 18, the family of Dr Alfred Guido Randolph Schloesser, whose daughter (Daisy Schloesser) married Eric E Eastman (student and instructor at Iowa State College's agronomy department in the 1910's.  1,344 images in this set.

Family 18

April, 2017

5 batches of photos (total) returned to surviving friends / family members. Some returned in person, some returned by mail (no charge).

Accumulating photos faster than I can process them. Currently feeding the slide scanner. Should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 to 20,000 new images if (when!) I get caught up.

December, 2016

Acquired a batch of paperwork and a few photos about a gentleman who served in a bomber group in WWII.  Paperwork included assorted WWII military forms, post-war VA paperwork, stories about his life, medical paperwork up to the 2000's, DOB, and SSN.  His daughter was mentioned in the genealogy section, with enough information and a name that was unusual enough to identify this surviving family member.  The daughter was contacted and all of her father's paperwork and photos were returned to her at no cost.