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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Montana Cowboys: 1939

Montana Cowboys: 1939

June 1939. Big Horn County, Montana. Quarter Circle U Ranch roundup. Cowhands singing after a day's work. View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Home Sweet Home

Being a native Montanan born on a large sheep spread, this looks very much like home. It really hasn't changed much either, thankfully. I'll certainly never live anywhere else. As my grandfather would have said: "Well, I'll be go to hell, savvy photo ya got there!"

Thanks for the excellent photos, Dave.

Boone H
Roundup, Montana

Wow

Nothing else to add, just wow!

Parlor guitar

It's definitely a six-stringer, probably a "parlor guitar" --- a small-bodied instrument made for small venues.

See here: http://tinyurl.com/39lunt

and here: http://tinyurl.com/2gxxt4

Cowboy Guitar

That probably is a tenor guitar. These smaller guitars were popular because they're easy to pack along when out on the trail. Nowadays backpackers sometimes carry them. Martin makes a lot of these, and calls them "tenor size." (Elderly Instruments link.)

Marble Row Country

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Can anybody tell if that's a tenor guitar? It looks like it has six strings, but the body's rather small.

Light in a can

Just curious how these light cans were powered in 1931?

Or are you suggesting it was shot in a studio?

I guess the items that appear to be light cans couldn't be logs on the old campfire...or some other non-staged artifact?

[These were shot outdoors at the Quarter Circle U. The lights were probably powered off a car battery. And the year is 1939, not 1931. - Dave]

Cowboys

It really does look like a movie still.

Lighting effect

Note also that the photo staged the light cans to give the appearance of campfire. Between the haircuts and the phony set up, this smacks a bit of propaganda.

[There's nothing phony about it. It's one of more than 300 photographs Arthur Rothstein took of cowhands at the Quarter Circle U in 1939. A few examples below. - Dave]

Crew cut

Did you notice how everybody just had his hair cut. Quite short.

Cowboys

This photo is fantastic! Thanks, Dave!

 
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