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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Alley Dwelling: 1935

Alley Dwelling: 1935

1935. Washington, D.C. "Alley dwelling. The clutter of filth, debris and tin cans all have highly utilitarian purposes. [Whatever that means.] Many of the houses are without gas, water, or electric connections." A Harris & Ewing photo from the mid-1930s, using what by then was the anachronistic medium of the 4x5 glass negative, but with subject matter that was on the cutting edge of what was being documented by the Federal Government's various New Deal (Farm Security Administration, etc.) photographic efforts. View full size.

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Utilitarian purposes

What the caption probably means is that the inhabitants of this neighborhood have to be very resourceful with what little they have available, and can make use out of things most people would regard as trash.

Value of debris

I think that means that the cans and other scrap metal were sold to scrap dealers, and rags might have been sold to make paper.

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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