Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

November 2, 2011
Scan old family photos with a cell phone, send them to The Bee

Rudin.JPGHave you been putting off scanning your family's old photos? Digitizing prints with a conventional scanner can be a mind-numbing, laborious process. Now there's a new iPhone app that may make the job a little easier. (Android version to come.)

It's called Shoebox. It uses your phone's camera as a miniature scanner. You can shoot a snapshot and the software finds the edges and corrects the perspective. You can also manually crop, straighten, rotate, caption and tag the image.

I tested the app by scanning a 3x5 inch glossy picture of Anne Rudin with an iPhone 4 camera (right). The process is easy and quick, and the software automatically crops pretty well. But there can be glare from an indoor light source -- something that won't happen with a flatbed scanner.

Items scanned with Shoebox are saved in the cellphone and sent automatically to 1000memories, a free social media site where individuals and families can post pictures and organize them in timelines and family trees. You can also send pictures directly to Facebook.

And while we're on the subject, The Bee wants your family snapshots. Not recent ones, but vintage photos of your ancestors. The pictures don't have to be set in the Sacramento region (though that would be nice). And they don't have to be professionally done. Just be evocative of a historic period (through period clothing, vehicles, buildings, etc.).

Craig Family.JPGTake a look at Scott Craig's contributions to the Bee's History User Photo Gallery. His family has lived in the region for many decades and he uploaded some interesting examples from his collection. You can add yours, too. Just fill out the form below the gallery, browse to the scanned (jpeg) photo in your computer and hit "Upload File".

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin in 1969 when she served as a City Council member. Sacramento Bee archives. The Craig Family, circa 1930s. Courtesy Scott R. Craig.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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