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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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Seafood Special: 1936

Seafood Special: 1936

June 1936. Memphis, Tennessee. The somewhat cryptic (not to mention racist) caption for this one is recorded as "Coon dawgling." Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


clever title

It's how you fish minnows and roaches with a cane pole. "Dawgling" refers to the way you drop and hang your line. When you fish like that on rivers, you never know exactly what you're gonna pull up, but it's all good eatin. The "coon" refers to it being a grab bag scavenge.


Could the caption be accusing the young lad of dawdling? I've always heard it used referring to lagging behind distractedly, but one dictionary says, "to waste time; idle; trifle; loiter."


No idea what "Coon dawgling" is unless it's a black man cooling it on a bench.

The sign is for a bait shop whether the photographer knew it or not. Shiners are small, shinny fish used as bait.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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