LIFE magazine, that is. Google is hosting a searchable archive of historical photographs from the LIFE magazine vault.
We’re not just talking the major VJ-day-navy-dude-kisses-nurse cover shots either, but a complete set of everything in LIFE’s archive, including pictures that were never published, all in as high a resolution as you could hope for.
That’s millions of photographs, even some as early as 1750. I don’t know how that could be exactly, because as far as I know the first permanent photograph was taken in 1826, the first really useable system coming a decade later with the daguerreotype.
The browse by decades feature starts with the 1860′s, so I’m guessing the 18th c. material is more recent photography of period paintings.
Item of note: there are 148 photographs in the LIFE archive from 1860. No other decade beats that number until the 1910′s. Slaughter inspires art, I suppose.
To search the LIFE archives, just type “source:life” after your keyword in the Google Images search box.