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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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Like Family: 1951

Like Family: 1951

1951, somewhere in the Southeast. "Negro maids and their white employers' babies." Photo by John Vachon for a Look magazine assignment on "The South" in what could have been a prologue to "The Help." View full size.

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Mississippi 1957

My mother has a picture of a friend's 4th birthday party. All the white kids are sitting in their party dresses in a row with their black nurses in uniforms directly behind them. I found it interesting that the nurses were included in the picture, I doubt they got cake and ice cream.

The Help

This scene is right out of a page from Kathryn Stockett's novel, The Help.

To Savannah

Yes, my father--who grew up in the deep South--always considered it deeply ironic that our racist relatives didn't mind having their food prepared by black cooks, their babies kissed by black nannies, and their beds made by black maids but recoiled in horror at the idea of sharing a doorway or a water fountain with these same people. I would give a lot to know what happened to the four people in the above photo in later years.


With the rampant racism existing in the country at the time of this picture, it's amazing that parents gave their babies over to be cared for by black workers. There's something so ironic about that.

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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