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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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Mother Caroline: 1939

Mother Caroline: 1939

July 1939. Orange County, North Carolina. "Caroline Atwater, wife of Negro landholder, in the yard of her double one-and-a-half-story log house, telling where she was born and how she came to this place." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Caroline Atwater

Samuel Snipes and Tempy Atwater (see the 1880 Chatham census) were from that same area, Lambsville near Chapel Hill. I am also related to the white James Dowdy family from Gulf, N.C., and black Lamberts, Snipes, Rives/Reaves Dowdy families. If you have any info please contact me at 314/249-8972 or at Thank you.

Madeleine Snipes Grant


She seems to have lived a long life, but to have outlived her two boys....hope she had grandchildren or some other family. She seems so lonely.


Her face bears the lines of a harrowing journey. I'd love to just sit and have tea and listen to her talk all day.

Mother Caroline: 1939

This is Joe Manning. According to census records, and to North Carolina records, Caroline Atwater was born about 1865, and died in 1949. She was married to Ennis Atwater. She apparently lived her whole life in North Carolina. She had at least two children, both boys: Jesse, who was born about 1894, and died in 1948; and Philip, who was born about 1907, and died in 1930.

[Thanks, Joe. I have one or two more photos of her to post. - Dave]

You have gotten my curiosity

And where might we find her story?

[See above. - Dave]


Is she standing by a well?

[Well, yes. - Dave]

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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