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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Ford Family, Cont'd.

Ford Family, Cont'd.

March 1936. "Resettlement Administration official investigating the case of nine living in field on U.S. Route 70 between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near the Tennessee River." View full size. Photograph by Carl Mydans.

 

I remember this photo from

I remember this photo from when it was first posted. I wonder what's up with those mischievous grins the older boys and mom seem to have? You'd think they wouldn't have much to smile about, but I guess even in the worst situations you can't stay sad the whole time.

Actually....

It was the boy, not a girl

Actually...

Actually there were seven children, not six.

A little girl behind the mother, between mother and father.

Ken Burns' "The War"

This photo showed up in Ken Burns' "The War" on the second night. Oddly enough, it was used during a segment describing the influx of rural people into Mobile due to the demands of the ship building industry.

[I noticed that too. Plus two other non-war-related pics that I will try to post tonight. - Dave]

entertained

They all seem to be enjoying confounding the fellow with the clipboard.

My bet is those women owned

My bet is those women owned one pair of shoes, and they weren't tennis shoes. Women wore heeled shoes back then.

When you're pregnant your feet swell up. And heels sink in the mud.

This set of photos

I agree this is one of the best of all of the series, look at all of the comments!! You can see how much of our history people don't know or understand, some refuse to believe it was real? Having 6 kids back then was normal and families stayed together for better or worse. Times were hard and they did not have the options we do now.

I love this series of photographs

These are my favorites of all the Shorpy pics. What a story they tell. Hopefully the Resettlement Administration was able to help them out. This is a monument to human tenacity.

I doubt having that many children changed their situation much, it was common to still have large rural families at the time.

Children = Poverty?

When you combine a high infant mortality rate and no social security net of any sort, having six, seven, eight children (in the hopes that a least a couple would live to adulthood and support his/her parents) was a practical way to guarantee that you didn't starve to death in your old age. Also, don't assume that birth control was available or affordable. Even information about birth control was deemed obscene and therefore illegal. It wasn't until 1936 (the year this photo was taken!) that the Supreme Court ruled the federal government couldn't interfere with a doctor providing birth control devices to patients. History. Learn some.

The Oldest Girl

Whoa. Is she pregnant?

The Men Have Shoes

Interesting that only the three sons (on the left) and the father get to wear shoes.

I love how the oldest girl

I love how the oldest girl is literally in the middle of the other kids. And I suppose having six children didn't in any way contribute to their economic condition (the Depression too, of course).

where are they now

Several of the children could easily be alive somewhere right now! I'm dying to know!

 
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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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