It’s 8:45, a week after The Junk Ranch started, and I think my body temperature JUST returned to normal. We had unseasonably warm weather for the event — in the mid-90s with high humidity — but as uncomfortable as it was, WE DID NOT HAVE ANY RAIN, so I should not even be complaining. Rain on an outdoor flea market is THE WORST and if we dodged that bullet, I should be nothing but grateful.
But, whew, it was HOT. This might be TMI, but, on the first day, despite drinking oodles of iced tea and water, I only needed to use the restroom once, late in the day. On the second day, I didn’t use the restroom until 9:12 that night! DEHYDRATION, people, despite my best efforts. And a sunburn, despite a vigilant sunscreen regimen and slavishly following the shade. And chigger bites. But it’s June in Arkansas! You play the cards you’re dealt! WE’RE MADE RUGGED HERE.
This was a tricky one for me. My booth was almost exclusively prints, both framed and unframed, and a few oversized painted signs. I had very little vintage, and almost no furniture. I’ve decided that all furniture should stay in the booth at D and O, since we get SO MANY of the same Junk Ranch crowds at the store and that way I don’t have to haul stuff out to the Junk Ranch grounds — saves me trips. I wasn’t sure how that would go over, but it turned out okay — I made a little more this year than I have in previous years (and nearly double what I did last June, when I barely dragged myself to the event, in the wake of my Dad’s death). I found a fantastic place to get oversized prints made — ShortRun Posters — and was pleasantly surprised by their quality, given the inexpensive nature of their printing services. I had a bunch of bird prints made for some big frames I had, and also had some book quote posters made — those proved to be quite popular and I sold every single one of them. Wish I had more.
Okay, enough of the chit chat, let’s see some pictures!
Look at these two happy ladies, among the first to get through the gates at Friday’s opening hour.
First: my booth. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of it. I haven’t figured out how to set up using almost all signs and prints. I can’t seem to cute-ify it. I have assigned myself the duty of poring over Pinterest in the next three months to see if I can’t get myself a plan by September.
The unframed prints did REALLY WELL. The smaller framed prints (in the chalk-painted frames) did NOT do well, which is weird, because last time I sold almost all of them. The bird pictures didn’t do very well, either — the big seller were the quotes made to look like they are on book pages.
All of the painted signs sold — some more quickly than others. The pie sign was gone in the first hour. I need to make a few other ones for the D and O booth. I’ve discovered that reproduction advertising painted signs sell much more reliably than the just plain old cutesy ones, like the southern sayings sign. It finally sold, but at a reduced price and very late in the second day.
And now for my BFF, Shara’s, booth, which was amazing, AS ALWAYS.
These flash cards were the BIG SELLERS of the sale for Shara, I think. People ADORED them. I can see why. They’re irresistible.
That clever, clever Shara. She always has flocks of people in her booth, all talking about how her stuff brings back the BEST memories.
We were across from a booth selling plants. Gorgeous.
This was one of our neighbor’s booths.
My friend Susan, repping for D and O!
She had a gorgeous, marble-topped ice cream set in her booth.
My friends’ Max and Lisa’s awesome pallet-wood giant clocks. Think of how much work it is to make this many and then haul and display them!
Natalie Noack, from Natalie Creates, and her husband recently opened a store on the Fayetteville square and she was in the little farm house with some of the products they’re carrying in the store. Gorgeous, of course! She is the sweetest person, too.
You want some more eye candy, don’t you? DON’T YOU? Of course you do.
My friend Carrie bought this ADORABLE doll bed to use for her dogs’ bed! Cutest idea ever.
This store sign is from the 1800s. LOVE.
PINK VELVET COUCH PINK VELVET COUCH PINK VELVET COUCH
My FAVORITE band that plays at The Junk Ranch: Sad Daddy. Y’all. They are AMAHHHHHHHZING.
So much good stuff. SO MUCH. You guys know I never get out of there without buying stuff — I think the heat had me a bit overwhelmed because I didn’t shop too much this time. I DID find this oil portrait of the happiest dog you’ve ever seen:
He’s smallish, and I paid $27 for him — that price got me the stink eye from both Justin and Shara, but I love him. He makes me happy to look at! So I suppose that makes him priceless.
Whew. That’s a lot of pictures. Hope it didn’t take ten years to load on your screen.
That’s it for now. Sorry I’m not posting much — I am having the busiest June in recent memory! But I’ll be back to posting more soon. I need another Tulsa trip, and that’s bound to generate some good picking stories!
XOXO to all of you. Hope you’re managing to stay cool!
Martha, the owner of Daisies and Olives, is very good about having a special shopping event about once a quarter, and she makes a point of closing for an afternoon prior so that all the vendors have ample time to spruce their booths without getting into the way of shoppers. I was particularly thrilled with that opportunity this time because I needed to paint two walls in my booth — and I was NOT looking forward to it. Fortunately, it went a bit faster than I expected. I went up on Thursday morning, while the kids were at pre-school, painted, then went to pick them up and returned to the booth when Justin got home at around 6 pm. I got home around 9. It’s a lot of work but there is no feeling like walking away from your booth after working on it for six hours — and this was the first time in MONTHS that my booth was really, truly full, so I felt particularly accomplished this time around.
Thanks to my recent Tulsa buying trips, I had lots of good junk to stuff in there.
I got this little ice cream set off of Craigslist. It’s priced pretty high because I paid a lot for it — it was during a span of time when I was panicking a bit about having enough stuff for the event — I will probably eventually have to price it for what I paid for it but right now am keeping my fingers crossed that I can make a bit of a profit.
I designed some new prints, Spring-themed!
I don’t know if you can read that last one, but it says: “Spring will come and so will happiness…hold on. Life will get warmer.” It’s my favorite. I wish I had found that quote earlier this winter because I could have used it. (There’s the infamous red chair from my Tulsa trip a couple of weeks ago!)
The Bloom box sold on the first day. I’ve got to get out to the garage and make some more. They were fun!
I put two HUGE painted signs in the booth, priced pretty high, because they were big projects that took a lot of time. I’ll be interested in seeing if they sell. In the past, sales of my painted signs in the booth have fallen off but they still really do well for me at the Junk Ranch, so if they don’t sell here, I’ll bring them to the JR in June. I wish they sold better, because I enjoy making them, but I have to price them so low to get them to move, it really isn’t worth it.
I should have taken an all-booth shot with my phone (the lens on my camera isn’t wide enough) but alas, I did not.
I did, however, get some shots from around the store…
This is Keith’s booth, on the other side of me. If you follow me on IG, you saw a video of his booth a week or so ago…he is AMAZING. I wish I could have gotten a picture of his whole booth but, again, my lens is limited because it’s not wide enough. Everything he does is BRILLIANT.
He’s got a very non-traditional space, odd-shaped and unstructured, and he just shoehorns everything in there so that it all fits perfectly.
I could not be more pleased that he is back at Daisies and Olives.
Look at this splendid piece from the Four Funky Friends booth. Y’all, I want that something fierce.
I have had some swanky mirrors in my booth over the years but I have NEVER had one that reached THIS level of swanky. It is so gorgeous. In the Sweet Salvage booth (I think).
Cute little spring cowgirl boots from my friend Paula’s booth, Emma’s Back Porch.
I’m a little in love with this banner in the Sweet Tea booth but it would have to be followed by an expletive to properly reflect the tenor of my home.
It’s a tiny! Green! Piano! LOVE!
Can you even believe this cart in my friend Judi’s booth? Imagine happening along that in your junking travels. I would DIE.
Love this lamp at Angel’s Attic.
Love the chair, love the table, love the lamp. LOVE EVERYTHING. My friend Linda never disappoints.
As you can see, all of the D and O vendors outdid themselves this time around. I popped in late Saturday to straighten and I’m glad I did — I had sold enough stuff that the booth was looking a little rough around the edges. Apparently, Saturday was CRAZY busy. All of the folks who had been working all day looked exhausted. Another successful event at Daisies and Olives! Hooray!
Okay, it is officially a tradition: for the fourth time, we bribed someone to watch our children (just kidding, Justin’s mom was sweet enough to come over and stay with them) so that Justin and I could get up at 5 am and drive an hour and a half to the Annual Neosho City Wide Yard Sale event. And for the fourth time, it was totally worth the drive, which is surprising, because, in my experience, as these annual yard sale events go on, the pickings get more and more crappy as the participants just continue to pull out the same stuff that didn’t sell the year before. But I managed to find enough stuff to fill the car once again, so I suppose we will continue on with this tradition!
At this point, the areas are familiar to me, and I’ve got a bit of a plan (instead of just blindly driving around as I did the first two years). I head to Oak Ridge Avenue, with is a big loop that they turn into a one-way street for the sale day. There are always a ton of sales and a church sale where the prices cannot be beat (I got these two filing cabinets, plus a bunch of frames, for five bucks at the church this year).
BTW, here’s an app rec: I use Route4me, and it’s excellent for yard saling. They used to charge a monthly fee to route over a certain number of spots but I don’t think they do that anymore. I haven’t been able to find any other app that lets me type in tons of addresses (it was 47 for Neosho, over 70 for Tulsa) and then maps it in the most efficient way.
The two Asian relief chalk hangings came from a sale where a woman was selling some of her grandmother’s stuff — she had recently passed away. I think they’re really cool and will end up at the college booth.
I also got this keen beverage set from her:
I washed them after I took this picture, and they look a bit more lustre-y and fun.
I got the two little scottie dogs and the two farm trucks, along with a few other things, at a sale on the corner of Cottage and High — I remember them from last year as being a house with a ton of great vintage stuff. They did not disappoint this year, although their prices were a little too steep for re-sale purposes — but, still, lots of fun stuff to look through. One of the women having the sale made the scottie dogs out of vintage wool blankets — I thought they were so cute! I’ll put these back until next Fall. I’ll bet theirs would be a great sale to hit on Saturday, when they’re a bit more flexible with their prices. Still, I will look forward to it again next year.
Can you even imagine if I had found the cabinet these drawers belong to instead of just the drawers?
I got about 25 of them, and the woman who sold them to me had no idea where they were from but we decided they may have been from a type cabinet from a newspaper, because, on the inside, each one has a letter of the alphabet. I have NO idea what I’m going to do with these but they were so cute I could not resist. They would be good display pieces for jewelry, maybe — I will have to see if my BFF Shara can use a few of them.
This is a close-up of a table from the big picture at the beginning of the post, and it’s from one of my FAVORITE stops this year — and one of the biggest-kept secrets of the city wide sale. They were NOT on my list that I pulled from the Chamber of Commerce site, so I don’t know if I just missed them, or if they didn’t submit their sale for the list, but I followed signs saying “Huge sale, Primitives and Junk” about five miles off of my route to find the place (1906 Pineville). The sale ended up being in a big barn-like shed in the back of someone’s house — it was totally charming and professional and adorable and their prices were UNBELIEVABLE. I hit them about 1 pm and I shudder to think what I might have missed. I got this table, the table in the first picture with wheels on it, the cute little step-stool in the picture of the drawers, and this cute kitchen cart, all for $50:
I’m going to take the cart apart and paint it — I did that with a cart I use for display at the Junk Ranch and everyone tries to buy it every year. Now they’ll be able to! That was a really fun stop.
Let’s talk about that saucer chair in the picture up there. I shouldn’t have bought it because I just can’t imagine that I’ll be able to salvage it — the vinyl, as you can see, is torn in multiple places. I was thinking about trying to find some of that patch stuff they used to make for vinyl things — you would kind of melt the patch on the tear with a hot iron? Do they make those anymore? And is it feasible with tears in such a large portion of the chair? I just couldn’t resist it — it swivels! And it’s so CUTE! And it was only $5! But oh, it’s a mess. Advice solicited and appreciated, if you have any. Those old bottles are very cool and were the other thing I got at the cool vintage sale at Cottage and High. They all have their original lids or corks.
The plus of this trip is that, along with vintage goodness, I always pick up lots of stuff for the kids, and this year was no different. I got a bunch of clothes and shoes for them AND a massive amount of Legos. Jack’s eyes were like saucers as I pulled out bag after bag of legos!
We stopped by Joplin and picked up lunch from Big R’s BBQ, which we found our very first year and have eaten at every year since. And dream about throughout the rest of the year. It’s some tasty BBQ, y’all. We intended that for dinner and then drove through a burger place for lunch. Along with the three donuts from breakfast, you can see that I took full advantage of the road trip junk food rule.
Shara went too, but I know she will do her own post, so be sure to pop over there and read her post about it. One of these days we will actually go on an adventure together, in the same car, although one of us will end up tied to the roof in order to make more room for the THE STUFF.
Hope yard sale season is kicking up for you guys, too! Thank goodness they’re back!
Some weeks ago my friend Linda, who runs Possum Valley Vintage, was cleaning out her storage space and offered to let Shara and I have a look to see if there was anything we wanted to buy (there was. OF COURSE.). This was back in February, and we were all bemoaning the fact that there had been no good junking over the winter, and talking about how empty our booths were — and Linda said she doesn’t have much luck at yard sales in our area, but prefers Tulsa yard sales. A couple of weeks later, I woke up in a funk on a Saturday and, on a whim, jumped in the car and headed west. I hit Tulsa at about 11 am — in Fayetteville, there wouldn’t be anything left at yard sales except a couple of stray price tags at that point — and didn’t have terribly high hopes for my shopping adventure, but came home with a car full of goodies.
Not only did I pull into town late on a Saturday, but some of my finds were from multi-day estate sales that were on their second and third day. I was thoroughly impressed with the Tulsa yard sale scene after one visit, and I’ve been hankering to go back ever since. This time, I left Fayetteville at 6 am, hitting T-town just before 8, and got down to business. By 10 am my car was packed and I was already having trouble finding room for my fabulous finds — I left behind an antique door with a glass window and a heavy metal mail slot swinging door in it for FIVE DOLLARS because it just wouldn’t fit. Sob. I guess it’s the size of the town that makes it such a good hunting ground for yard sales? I hit an estate sale that opened at 7 am — walked in about 7:45 — and there were only two other people there. Far from the pushing, shoving, and elbowing I would have faced at a Fayetteville estate sale at the same time.
The first sale was an estate sale being run by two sisters. Nothing was marked (I hate that!) so I was hesitant to pick up a whole lot at the beginning, but I was overhearing prices they were giving to the other two men who were at the sale and they seemed more than reasonable. Those men had gotten there before me and had a bunch of cool stuff, including an entire box full of ancient airplane liquor bottles, which were awesome. I got the skates, some pretty old books, a very old, small suitcase with it’s top torn off — which makes it perfect to use as display — and these:
Two of my favorite finds for the day — adorable bird salt and pepper shakers and four volumes of hand-written manuscripts.
The women weren’t sure what the books were — one of them thought it might be business records of the grain business one of her grandfather’s had — and though I had intended to take them apart and use the pages, filled with gorgeous handwriting, in ephemera packs, when I got them home I thought better of it. One of them is some kind of sermon with a medical slant — very odd, and over 200 pages long. The rest are stanza after stanza of poetry. This person spent hours and hours and hours writing, all with a gorgeous calligraphy pen and swoon-worthy cursive. There is not a single date to be found in any of the four volumes, which is frustrating, but what with the ink, hand-writing, and language, I have to believe that they’re from the late-1800s or early-1900s. I’m just not sure what to do with them at this point. There are very few finds I’ve felt guilty re-selling over the years, but something about the hard work invested in this makes me feel a bit bad about putting it on eBay. I’ll have to think on it a while.
Around my second or third stop, I picked up four seven-foot wooden shutters (you can see them in the background of the group picture) that had to be slid in between to the two front seats to fit, completely cutting off my peripheral vision to the right. It was a this point that I had to turn down the door (still hurts, days later) and I knew my potential for fitting large items in was getting more and more slim, and it was barely 10 am!
I found these glass drawer pulls and knobs at a sale in the gorgeous, older part of town. This house had one of those tiny houses parked at the curb — the daughter had made it and was looking for land to plant it on. I wish I had taken a photo but was too shy to ask. It was painted a rainbow of colors and was amazing. I got ten vintage glass drawer handles and six or seven pulls for FIVE DOLLARS. They cleaned up SO PRETTY and are now stashed in my workshop, where I will probably hoard them, never finding the perfect piece of furniture worthy of their use.
Tulsa had one of those “World’s Largest Yard Sale” things at the Expo the weekend I was there, and I had it in the back of my mind to stop by when I was finished with yard sales, but I was having a hard time figuring out when I was “finished.” When I get in a groove like I was, I can go all day. I had hit all the sales that I had starred as “must stops” the night before and was flirting with the idea of stopping when I pulled up at what would end up being my favorite sale.
It was very strange — there were no signs, but there were pieces of furniture on the lawn that I figured out were sold. I could see the driveway but not the garage, and there was nothing in the garage, but the front door was wide open, so I figured it was an estate-sale type of deal, and walked in. I heard voices and saw shoppers, but couldn’t see anyone who looked like they were “working” the sale. The house was a mess, and looked positively tossed — I went to a salvage sale one time in Chicago and it looked a lot like this. Nothing was priced and I wasn’t sure what was for sale and what wasn’t. I wandered back towards the bedroom, where I saw a lady opening up one of those zippered pouches that you use for money and caught a flash of tons of bills inside. Later, once I had made contact with the guy who was having the sale, I found out we weren’t really supposed to be in the house, and that lady was a shopper who had found his change for the sale, which he had tucked in the back bedroom for safe-keeping. Luckily, she was honest, and brought it to him. Turns out he was on his own running things (he did have one guy, very nice, who was trying to help him) because his wife, who was supposed to be helping, had to go and help take care of a sick grandchild. He told me he thought he would be able to just do some yardwork while people bought things occasionally, and had put no time or thought into preparation — nothing was marked, there were signs, and I’m not at all sure he planned to sell all the things that he ended up selling. He said from the moment the sale started he had been running himself ragged, and had decided to just throw his hands up and try to get rid of as much as possible. This was a man who had lost total control of the situation and was totally Zen about it! I had done a “test ask” — you know, that thing you do at unmarked sales where you pick up one or two things to try and gauge how the prices are going to be — and he was quoting me RIDICULOUSLY low prices, which immediately threw me into that zone where my heart is pounding, my mouth is dry, and I develop tunnel vision. I had my eye on the cutest little chair and asked how much (one dollar!) about the time these two older men (in their late 70s, probably) were picking it up…those men scooped me time and time again and were my mortal enemies by the end of it. I noticed people climbing down from the attic — the pull-down ladder kind — and asked the owner’s friend of there was stuff up there to shop and he told me that I could buy whatever I could find up there, but the stairs were rickety and the floor wasn’t really safe so it would be at my own peril. You KNOW I was halfway up the stairs before he had even finished his warning, right? There was almost no room to walk up there at all, and about six people already digging, so it was tricky, but slowly I started pulling stuff down. And uncovered the match of that little red chair I had been deprived of! I was so excited! I hauled it downstairs and ran into one of the little old men and said “Look! I found another one!” and he was NOT HAPPY AT ALL. Later, the owner saw it in my pile and asked me about it and I said “you had another one upstairs!” and the old guy mutters behind me, “yeah, she came down bragging about that.” LOL, gentlemen! All is fair in love and yard sales, mister.
It’s the CUTEST, isn’t it?? Trying not to focus on how nice it would be to have a pair.
He had a full workshop, with lots of nooks and crannies to go through.
The little plaid cooler is a favorite.
After I had already been in the attic once, I heard someone say that there was Christmas stuff in a closet up there. EXCUSE ME?
When I went back up there, I was alone, and should have just stayed until I had gone through every box. But the closet had a floor that was even iffier than the main floor, and there was no light — it was pitch dark and I was kind of feeling with my hands what was inside boxes. I did NOT explore it to the extent that Shara would have — she would have fashioned a flashlight out of the materials on hand and stayed until ever inch was explored, no doubt finding even more goodies than I did, but I just grabbed what I could and headed downstairs.
So, this is what was in my pile by the end: the two suitcases in the main picture, the blue toolbox and two blue fileboxes, the cute little red chair, six big frames that aren’t pictured, the wooden arrow, the little tri-leg table with the marble top (SO CUTE), the Christmas stuff, the plaid cooler, the scales, the little red elephant (anyone know anything about that elephant?), and the little hat/wig box. I only stopped digging because I was afraid I had spent all the money I had left. I asked him to add me up and he says….TEN BUCKS. I MADE him take $20 and still felt guilty. And then I felt too bad to keep looking around — like, oh, if you’re letting people take advantage of you to this degree, let me grab some more stuff! for super-cheap!! I mean, I got A LOT of stuff and should be perfectly content but there was still so much good stuff to go. There was a guy there, clearly a dealer, and he was pulling out some FANTASTIC items…I wanted to stick around and see what else he got. He had Shara’s knack of finding everything — I had spent ten minutes in one corner going through stuff and he got in there after me and found junk that I hadn’t even seen. He kept telling me to shut up because I was going on and on about how fabulous his pile was and he told me I was going to cost him more money. It was a FUN FUN FUN SALE.
I left that house absolutely high on life and definitely didn’t want to quit at that point. I went to one or two more sales, but it was nearing 2 pm, and the signs that the pickings were going to be slim wherever I went at that point were appearing. I hit one sale adjacent to downtown that was the remains of storage spaces — it had the air of something that happened every weekend — and found two of these homemade Pepsi can airplanes that I thought were cool.
I got a few more things, but that is, essentially, the bulk of my finds. Driving was becoming increasingly perilous, with most of my sightlines gone at this point, so I decided to head on over to the Expo to see what the garage sale event there looked like. MISTAKE. There was also a HUGE gun and knife show there at the same time, the parking lot was packed, with pedestrians everywhere, and I was terrified that I was going to hit someone because I was having so much trouble seeing and THAT PERSON WOULD BE ARMED. Being in the vicinity of that many guns makes me nervous so I decided to give up on the idea of shopping there — I wonder if was any good?
Friday night I had looked at a few other shopping options, including some flea market-y type places, but I was pretty tired at this point and decided to hit the one that looked the most promising — Retro Den on Harvard. Friends, the store is fabulous. Follow them on IG for some serious eye candy. Their store has a gorgeous, industrial/mid-century vibe and they sell and pot succulents in-store. I brought my camera, and worked up the nerve to ask the sweet people running the store if I could take some pictures, only to discover I had left my sim card at home. I was so mad at myself, because it would have been so fun to take some pictures of their store. I settled for a few iPhone pics.
This is how they display their vintage slides. I have never been more tempted to buy some. They were fascinating to look at.
How adorable is this ladder display?
The day I was there, a guy was at a potting table, giving demonstrations on re-potting succulents. This store just has a fresh, funky, fun vibe. I highly recommend it if you’re in Tulsa on a vintage hunt.
After Retro Den, I headed downtown and did a little exploring at a few shops in the Deco District. Saw some lovely handmade jewelry, great t-shirts, and fabulous prints, then moseyed across the street and had a salad at Elote Cafe. The downtown area was so chill and laid-back on a Saturday — I really loved the whole vibe. Tulsa is a beautiful town, a lot more funky than I ever gave it credit for. I wish it were closer than two hours, because I have the hankering to go yard saling there EVERY weekend at this point. Do I have any readers from or familiar with Tulsa? I know I have a lot of Oklahoma gals who read…if anyone has any pointers or recommendations, please feel free to share! I will definitely be going back multiple times over the summer (and dragging Shara with me if I can!).
I pulled back into Fayetteville in a much better mood than I have been in lately. I am so glad that Yard Sale season is starting – we have a big Spring event coming up next weekend, and I’m going to get my finds all cleaned up and down to the booth by Thursday. I am so looking forward to it not being a struggle to keep the booth stocked for a few months!
One of my very favorite blogs, The Painted Hive, featured a gorgeous framed Audobon flamingo print that Kristine downloaded, had printed, and framed herself. She included a link to the site where she got the art: The Audubon Society very generously offers high-resolution downloads of the beautiful bird art featured in James John Audubon’s body of work. I loved the flamingo print she chose so much I just totally copied her.
This is a 24X28 print and it turned out so gorgeously (I can say that since I had very little to do with it). I could have made it even larger had I a bigger frame — the files are enormous and I had to scale this down quite a bit to fit even in this large frame.
Kristen also linked to two other useful sites: Plant Illustrations (just what it sounds like) and the BioDiversity Heritage Library, where she found some gorgeous John Gould illustrations. I downloaded this one that I’m going to use next:
Can you tell I have a thing for birds?
Some other great sites for downloading public domain materials:
Group the documents at the New York Public Library by genre and you’ll be lost for hours looking at their offerings.
(And holy moley, I just found the fashion design files!)
The Public Domain Review (don’t miss these amazing magician publicity posters…
or these amazing photos from the Apollo mission).
(You’ll need to visit the original source for these files to get a high res version; link can be found on that website.)
I think a framed series of these mug shots would be amazing for a more edgy decor. From the description: “This special photograph selection were mostly taken at the Central Police Station, Sydney and compared with the subjects of typical prison mug shots, the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed to compose themselves for the camera as they wanted.”
The British Library has uploaded a ton of images to their Flickr stream. The organization is pretty unwieldy, and you have to have a Flickr account to download (not that hard to sign up), but the file sizes are decent and they have some gorgeous images.
And don’t forget about The Graphics Fairy for a treasure trove of sweet vintage illustrations.
This is just scratching the surface — if you Google “royalty free images,” “public domain images,” or “copyright free images,” you could spend hours going through the sites generated. A few things: first, if your planning on creating anything with these images that you plan on selling, make sure you’re clear on the terms of the site (for the most part, everything I’ve linked is in the public domain, so you shouldn’t have any issues). Second, many of these sites offer differently sized versions of each file — if you’re planning on printing these out, always download the largest file size available. (And once downloaded, do not try to print out larger than the actual file size — you’ll be disappointed with the quality.) And third, some of these files need some altering (to fit your frame size, for example) or cleaning up (to trim the edges or remove artifacts).
So get out there to your thrift store, grab some frames, and get busy! There’s enough material out there to allow us to have gallery walls on every blank space in our houses.