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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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Unemployment Lineup: 1939

Unemployment Lineup: 1939

April 1939. "Salvation Army, San Francisco, California. Unemployed young men pause a moment to loiter and watch, and then pass on." Large format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

From Right to Left...

Jerry Lee Lewis, William Shatner, and Norm McDonald.


The young man, on the far right, looks like a young Jerry Lee Lewis...with all that long wavy hair...perhaps an ancestor...

Fashion repeats itself. Again.

The exaggeratedly wide bottom pant recurs several times in recent fashion history. In the 60's we called them bell-bottoms. In the 20's they were called Oxford Bags. I don't actually know what they called them in the 30's, but they were indeed worn. It seems to be a young person's style in every decade though... they're sold in one 1935 catalog titled as a "Campus Hit"!

Familiar face

I noticed the fellow on the left looks like a young Bill Murray.

The three distinct styles of dress and manner are interesting.


I'm sure someone with fashion knowledge of the era can explain why the two guys on the right seem to be wearing denims that are flared at the bottom. I know that was the style in San Francisco in 1967 but am surprised to see it in 1939. Were they Navy veterans possibly?

Much has changed...

... but the corner building is still there.

In a couple more years

They'll have all the work they can handle!

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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