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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

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.

 

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?

 
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