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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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The Hot Seat: 1939

The Hot Seat: 1939

October 1939. "Farmer sits near the stove. General store in Lamoille, Iowa." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


This was how this product was discreetly advertised in women's magazines back in the 1950s-early 1960s. It was the caption to a photo of a beautiful woman, dressed in an elegant ballgown, usually standing on a mansion terrace overlooking the French Riviera at night. At age 5, I didn't know what Modess was, but when I grew up, I wanted to be that lady!

Farms consolidate

Surprisingly, Iowa was the 10th most populous state in the 1900 census. As farms consolidated in size and as cities grew, it slid down the rankings every decade since then. In 1940 (a year after this photo) it was the 20th most populated; today it is about the 30th.

Pepsi-Cola hits the spot

... 12 full ounces, that's a lot! Or you could have Dr Pepper at 10, 2 and 4!

My local Potbelly Sandwich Shop has the same stove

Or most of it. Some of the parts are missing. My wife and I lived at Lincoln and Armitage in Chicago in the 1980s and used to go to the original (pre-franchise) Potbelly restaurant, which is still in business there.

Not just Round Oak

... but quarter-sawn, as well. Wonderful chair he's sitting in!

Brands You Can Buy Today, Vol. 2

Don't forget Kix, between the All-Bran and the Heinz product du jour, and of course Ivory Soap, proudly displaying its uncanny ability to float to the top.


The hands of that farmer speak volumes!


From a 1928 Ladies Home Journal:

“In order that Modess may be obtained in a crowded store without embarrassment or discussion, Johnson & Johnson devised the Silent Purchase Coupon presented below. Simply cut it out and hand it to the sales person. You will receive one box of Modess. Could anything be easier?”

More here:

[Or you can stock it next to the Wheaties, and hope for the best. - Dave]

Maca Yeast

A new fast dry yeast.

Brands you can buy today

Clabber Girl
Dr. Pepper
Kellog's All-Bran

Gives Appetite to All

The healthy baking powder.

Dowagiac Round Oak

The Round Oak stove that dominates the photograph was the product of a company that only had a few more years to live. The Estate of P.D. Beckwith, Inc. produced wood stoves in their hometown of Dowagiac, Michigan from 1871 to 1946 or '47, when they sold the buildings to Kaiser-Frazer automobiles and the Round Oak name to Peerless Furnace. Founder Philo Beckwith died in 1889, and the company name was officially changed from Round Oak Stove Company to The Estate of P.D. Beckwith, Inc. about 1890.

Round Oak stoves were quite efficient for their time and very popular, and at one point employed more than 20% of Dowagiac's population.

SHORPY OLD 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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