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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Low Noon: 1936

Low Noon: 1936

March 1936. "Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle." 35mm nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the FSA. View full size.

 

Dust Bowl

We lived in Arkansas on the river across from Oklahoma and even though Texas and Oklahoma were the worst hit, my folks got plenty of the dust. It certainly gave us backbone for years to come. This generation shouldn't wonder why great and great-great grandparents died so young. They worked themselves to death way too early. It would be hard to visualize today's teenager cleaning up the mess with a straw broom, bar of lye soap, and old rags.

Dust Storms

This photo brings back memories. Our schoolhouse in Tulia, Texas, had no electric lights (or indoor plumbing), so we were dismissed when a duster rolled into town and made everything as dark as night. To avoid breathing the dust, we tied handkerchiefs over our noses while walking home from school. The storms left a coating of dust about a quarter of an inch deep on everything inside our closed-up houses. The cleanup afterward was quite a chore. Gene Howe, a writer for the Amarillo Globe News, claimed that the dust storms were healthy and invigorating and maybe he was right. The dust storms and the effects of the Depression left us with backbone to spare. I don't recall anybody in those days complaining about how tough times were as opposed to all the whining heard in today's America.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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