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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Jr. O.U.A.M.: 1938

Jr. O.U.A.M.: 1938

April 1938. "Lodge hall in Guilford County, North Carolina." The Jr. O.U.A.M., or Order of United American Mechanics. Which, by the look of things, no longer "meets each 1st & 3rd Sat night." Photo by John Vachon. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

We have a winner

World's Ugliest Tower of Wood Construction in North Carolina.

Still a going concern.

It looks they have since dropped the "white" requirement and focus on the manufacturing trades, and have decided to maintain a conservative constitutional agenda. Their symbolism appears much like the Masons.

References here, here and here.

Buy and Hire American

Or we'll erect hideous architecture everywhere! The OUAM and Junior OUAM were nativist organizations that arose in response to a rapid increase in immigration from abroad in the several decades prior to the Civil War. According to the Wikipedia article (never a conclusive source but often a good place to begin one's enquiries), its membership was restricted to white males born in the US, and and its main objective was to foster preference for goods produced domestically and employees who were native citizens. No doubt but that the character Bill the Butcher from "Gangs of New York" would have been an enthuisiastic member. The term "mechanic," by the way, was used in the 18th and 19th Centuries to describe almost anyone who was involved in the making or repair of complex objects, from steam engines to buildings. Like the "Know Nothing" political party that existed roughly contemporaneously with its early days, the OUAM failed to prevail, and seems to have lived out its remaining years like many other lodges, providing a venue for social intercourse and bestowing death and burial benefits for indigent members. Or was it another clever front for the insidious Illuminati?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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