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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Doesn't Cotton: 1936

Doesn't Cotton: 1936

May 1936. " 'Damned if we'll work for what they pay folks hereabouts.' Crittenden County, Arkansas. Cotton workers on the road, carrying all they possess in the world." Photo by Carl Mydans, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

or maybe...

Or maybe the man has a tough job, digging ditches, hauling heavy stuff, toting and heaving? Jobs like that are rough on clothes, and if you are broke sometimes there is not a lot you can do to keep your clothes mended. It takes money (for needles, thread, and even light to mend at night), time, and energy to mend clothes.

In this photo, speaking as a person who has made her own clothes, it looks like both of them are equally dressed. Not fancy, not brand new, but clean and together.

I hope they made out ok.

Ladies First!

One thing I've noticed in these photos is that regardless of their poverty level, the ladies almost ALWAYS look better; meaning.. their clothes are cleaner, neater etc.

The guys always look shabby, with ripped and torn clothes, hats shoes etc.

I wonder whether the ladies just cared more about their appearance, or did the men just want their ladies to look better, allowing them to spend their hard earned money on things for herself rather than themselves?

As a matter of fact, don't husbands of today do the same?

 
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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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