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About the Photos

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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Better Than It Was: 1939

Better Than It Was: 1939

February 1939. Calipatria, Imperial Valley. Farm Security Administration emergency migratory labor camp. Daughter of ex-tenant farmers on thirds and fourths in cotton. Had fifty dollars when set out. Went to Phoenix, picked cotton, pulled bolls, made eighty cents a day. Stayed until school closed. Went to Idaho, picked peas until August. Left McCall with forty dollars "in hand." Went to Cedar City and Parowan, Utah, a distance of 700 miles. Picked peas through September. Went to Hollister, California. Picked peas through October. Left Hollister for Calipatria for early peas which froze. Now receiving Farm Security Administration food grant and waiting for work to begin. "Back in Oklahoma, we are sinking. You work your head off for a crop and then see it burn up. You live in debts that you can never get out of. This isn't a good life, but I say that it's a better life than it was." View full size. Photo and caption by Dorothea Lange.

 

California Here We Come: 1939

California Here We Come: 1939

July 1939 near Muskogee, Oklahoma. Elmer Thomas at the wheel. Ready to depart for the journey to California. View full size. Photograph by Russell Lee.

 

Aldridge Plantation: 1937

Aldridge Plantation: 1937

June 1937. "Old Negro. He hoes, picks cotton and is full of good humor. Aldridge Plantation, Mississippi." View full size. Photo and caption by Dorothea Lange.

 

Coleman Grocery: 1937

Coleman Grocery: 1937

"Old Store." April 13, 1937. A.J. Coleman Grocery at State Highways 14 and 86 in Pickensville, Alabama. South elevation showing door. View full size. Photograph by Alex Bush for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

 

Black and White: 1939

Black and White: 1939

July 1939. "Negro drinking at 'colored' water cooler in Oklahoma City streetcar terminal." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee.

 

OK City: 1939

OK City: 1939

July 1939. Woman with children at streetcar terminal in Oklahoma City. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

Okie Near Muskogee: 1939

Okie Near Muskogee: 1939

July 1939. "Elmer Thomas, migrant to California, tying sack of laundry onto front lamp bracket near Muskogee, Oklahoma." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration.

 
 
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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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