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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 • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

The Girl in the Bubble: 1942

The Girl in the Bubble: 1942

Bombardier nose section of a B-17F Navy bomber at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, Calif. October 1942. The B-17F "Flying Fortress" is a later model of the B-17. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

 

Day off?

I wonder about the posed nature of this photo. True, women of the past rarely went out of the house unless they were well-coiffed, but wearing of jewelry in the factory was VERY discouraged. A dainty gold watch like hers could easily get caught in a machine or tool and cause injury (possibly what happened to her bandaged finger?).

No doubt this was a posed affair. Knowing the lighting requirements of Kodachrome, there's no way this was a quick "hey you! Lemme grab a snap!". I just wonder how Palmer went about choosing his subjects.

[The large-format OWI Kodachromes taken indoors at assembly plants do not, as a general rule, purport to be candid documentary photography; most were carefully composed and lighted, and taken for a specific purpose. As we have pointed out before, that purpose was often to serve as studies for the artwork used in posters for recruitment, bond drives, safety campaigns, etc. Example below. As far as "jewelry" goes, there's nothing especially remarkable about a 1940s assembly worker wearing a wristwatch. - Dave]

 
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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