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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

A Place in the Sun: 1939

A Place in the Sun: 1939

Another shot of someone who may or may not be Penny Vachon, perusing the February 1939 issue of Fortune. Photo by John Vachon. View full size.

 

more info

According to John Vachon's daughter from his second marrige. John married Millicent Leeper aka penny around 1938. John would often write long letters to her and these can be found published in book form. John also was known to like his alcohol, often overdoing it. Penny would often be left at home with 3 children while John was on the road pursuing his career. It was long hard struggle for her and Penny took her own life in 1960.
Quite a sad story, as we enjoy John's photos of her.

Not a filter

That's a cork-tipped cigarette.

Filter cigarette

She is lighting a filter cigarette...they didn't come out until the 50's, huh?

The kind of lady I'd want to marry.

In fact, she is the kind of lady I married (the second time around), except for the smokes. Notice the binoculars at her side. She looks like she's ready for adventure.

John Vachon and I

seem to be in the minority that finds this woman attractive, whoever she is (was). My more colorful reimagining of this photo:

(Click for full-sized image)

Rob Lowe's

Grandmother?

She reminds me of a movie star.

I think it's Ray Liotta.

That bandage

Still on her big toe.

Additional Speculation

That may or may not be Leo G. Carroll in the background.

A little bit manly

I'm not passing judgment on Penny (if it is her) but she smokes, sits and carries herself in a masculine manner. Also she has a blister on her heel from the sandal strap but I'm sure she would not give a flying finger what I think. She reminds me of what my uncle used to refer to as a "tough tomato."

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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