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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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Funny Money: 1939

Funny Money: 1939

September 1939. "Closed bank. Haverhill, Iowa." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Cole Bros. Circus, some posters

The urban legend about this bank

This archetypal photo appears in many history books, always in the chapter about the failures of small-town and rural banks during the Great Depression. However, thanks to a sticky-fingered clerk named H.M. St. John, the Farmers Savings Bank of Haverhill failed well before the Depression. In April 1924, Mr St. John was arrested after examiners noticed a deficit of over $25,000, which was over twice the size of the bank's capital. News articles said he had admitted taking and spending $13,000 of it. The bank failed as a result, and never reopened. Under pre-FDIC state laws, the state paid annual sums to the bank's depositors until 1927. It was one of 273 Iowa banks that failed between 1921 and 1926 (a figure that would pale by comparison to the number that would fail in the next decade).

I cannot quarrel

with the identification. That is definitely a closed bank.

Not Tom's younger brother

When I saw Art Mix on that poster I joked to my wife that he must be Tom Mix's younger brother. Turns out there was no relation, except for the fact that they were both cowboy movie stars. Art appeared in a couple hundred horse operas, just like Tom, but never reached Tom's level of stardom. They ended up in the same place, though. Both are buried in the famous Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, CA.

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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