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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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Hard Times: 1937

Hard Times: 1937

March 1937. Scott's Run, West Virginia. "Johnson family -- father unemployed." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.



I find this to be quite a beautiful and powerful photo. It has good composition, and many details that enhance the subject. The tattered clothes, the worn shoes (patched with rags), the runs in the stockings, the old beadboard walls with newspaper pasted on for additional insulation, the crack in the stove, a missing door knob, a broom that has been so worn that hardly any bristles remain, etc.

You can tell that they're not overly dirty, though, (aside from the threadbare clothes). The two women have nicely braided hair, clean faces/hands, and the boy appears to have a half decent pair of shoes and a nice coat/jacket.

It makes you appreciate what we take for granted today.

I know where that stove ended up

Atomic Heat

Nuclear powered stoves in 1937. Who'd a thunk it?

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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