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.

    Family 23
    182 images in this set.

    Family 24
    699 images in this set.

    Family 25
    29 images in this set.

    Family 26
    53 images in this set.

    Family 27
    60 images in this set.

    Family 28
    28 images in this set.

    Family 29
    128 images in this set.

    Family 30
    40 images in this set.

    Family 31
    974 images in this set.

    Family 32
    219 images in this set.

    Family 33
    1,087 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
(read first, then questions here)


Note:  This isn't really a FAQ since I'm just making these pages and no one's asked me anything about them yet.


Q: Are there any copyright issues?  What if someone else thinks they own the photos?
A: I don't think this will be an issue.  As far as I know, since I bought these photos I own them.  With no way to provably identify the original photographer for any of these photos, I don't think there will be anyone else who can claim copyright over any of these photos.


Q: Are these the best versions of these photos?
A: No.  Most of the scanned images are around 6,000 pixels wide, compared to the posted max resolution of 1,200 pxiels wide.  I would have posted the full-sized scans, but they currently take up something like 70gb, far more than the space I have with my host.  I'm happy to provide a copy of any/all of these photos on disk.  Unless I get an exceedingly large number of requests, I'll pay for packaging and shipping.  If the site gets an unexpectedly large amount of attention, goes viral, etc. and generates a large number of requests for the full-sized scans, I'll set up an account on a photo sharing site that allows enough space for everything.


Q: Cooperation with law enforcement?
A: If I somehow end up with any photos that are of interest to law enforcement (murder victims, missing persons, etc.), I will cooperate fully with law enforcement.


Q: Do I claim copyright over any of these photos?
A: No.  While I may put something like Google Ads on these pages at some point, this is all just a hobby for me.  I don't expect it to ever make any money that will come close to covering the time and expense of making this site.


Q: Is there a way to get photos removed from this site?
A: Yes.  In general, show some sort of proof that you are one of the people in these photos or that you are related to one of the people in these photos.  I'm not sure what I would want as proof, but I would want some kind of proof because without it, any random person could request photos to be removed.


Q: Is there any way to get the original photos for any of these family groups?
A: Yes.  This is one of the main goals of this whole project- to return these photos to their families.  Same idea of proof as getting photos removed from this site.  I won't do it just because some random person says so, but I'm happy to do it if I have some way of verifying that the person requesting the original photos is related/connected to someone in the photos.


Q: What kind of material would require contact with law enforcement?
A: Anything that appears to be a crime, including anything with even a hint of child abuse/endangerment.  I used to be a mandated reporter and I still try to go by those standards.  Think of it this way- if a teacher/doctor/child care worker saw it, would it require them to report it to law enforcement?  If so, then that's the sort of material that I would report to law enforcement.  I haven't seen anything even close to this category so far, so I don't expect this to ever happen.


Q: What kind of information won't be posted?
A: Information that could identify a specific living individual will not be posted.  I will post birth dates only if I can find information showing that the person is deceased.  I will not post social security numbers for living or dead people.  I will not post specific addresses- city and state are ok, but not an actual, full street address.


Q: What kind of photos won't be posted?
A: Anything that shows or strongly implies nudity.  Mostly that means naked baby butts and naked baby in the bath photos.  Anything that requires me to contact law enforcement will not be posted.


Q: Where did I get these photos?
A: Mainly estate sales, thrift stores, swap meets, and auctions.


Q: Why did I make this site?
A: See "A Word From John."


Q: Why does your code look like that?  Your HTML kind of sucks.
A: Because I'm dealing with a large amount of material.  If it was a single family of 50 photos, then I would care about making the code look nice.  With a current total of 5,246 images and 17 families' worth of research/genealogy/web design, I just don't have the patience to worry about the code looking nice.  As long as the pages look the way I want them to look, that's enough for me.


Q: Why does your site look like this?  It kind of looks bland and boring.
A: I prefer a spartan style of web design- here's the information you're looking for without any sound, blinking lights, pointless decoration. 


Q: Why is Family 1 there?
A:  Family 1 (my family) is there partly because I want to make sure I'm playing the 'you show me yours, I'll show you mine' game fairly.  I can't post pictures of other peoples' families if I'm unwilling to post photos of my own.  Family 1 is also there in case I get a removal request for the other families.  I want to make sure that any material that's part of the structure of this site (ex: the 5 guys at the top of this site) won't ever be removed.