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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Benched: 1935

Benched: 1935

October 1935. Passing the time in Scotts Run, West Virginia. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Never Seen It

I ain't never seen an old guy whittling even once in my entire life. It's a myth. Whittling doesn't exist.

“Spit & Whittle Club”

That's a term my in-laws use for groups of old codgers like this. None of these guys seem to be whittling, though.

Sitters

Maybe not whittling but the one on the end might be picking a winner.

Leave room for Fido

Didn't notice until I looked at the full-sized photo, there are five "individuals" pictured here. Four gentlemen on the bench, and one comfortable looking pup curled up asleep underneath. From the looks of the ground underneath him, he spends quite a bit of time in that spot. Love it!

Now I Know.

When I was a kid I used to think these guys sitting on benches must be retarded. Now that I'm old ... I love being retarded. Ain't life grand.

Tie Guy

The dapper guy with the necktie, the lapel pin and the rakish fedora must be a retired pharmacist, doctor or politician. The rest of them look like farmers. Can we really ever know who they were and why they are there. Can we assume they were friends or just guys with no place else to go.

Bench Press

Four men passing the time on a bench and not one of them is whittling?

 
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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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