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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Tat Mom: 1939

Tat Mom: 1939

        For someone raising a family in a hovel made from tin signs in the city dump, this lady seems to be doing pretty well.

January 1939. "Mother of family on relief living in shanty at city dump. Herrin, Illinois." Seen earlier here. Photo by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.

 

Tats

She doesn't appear to be a woman of loose moral character.
(my Mother, who is was a teenager at the time of this photo says that back then only circus performers, sailors and women of loose moral character had tattoos!)

"Doing pretty well"

c'mon, you wouldn't have said that to my Mother on the prairies of Saskatchewan in 1938.

Tattoo

I'll take a wild stab and say Kewpie doll.

Multiple Tats

And here I thought that Aunt Mamie (of the comic strip "Moon Mullins") was a caricature. I didn't realize that some women had tats back in the day.

Some things don't change

I live in a city in which a very high percentage of the population is tattooed, and can attest to an awful lot of roses and butterfly tattoos.

Not so many newspaper-lined shacks, though.

Tattoos

At least four. And here I was thinking they were of more modern origin for women. Live and learn.

Doing Her Best

She seems to be a clean, resourceful woman!

Spotless!

For a shack made out of junk, lined with newspaper and located in the city dump, that place is clean, as is her dress and general appearance.

 
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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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