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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Mrs. Ostermeyer: 1936

Mrs. Ostermeyer: 1936

December 1936. "Hands of Mrs. Andrew Ostermeyer, wife of a homesteader, Woodbury County, Iowa." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee.

 

Also a descendant

My great-grandmother is Margaret Hiller--her daughter. I had seen this picture before even knowing I was related to her. Amazing.

I am a decendent of this woman

Her name is Theresia Ostermeyer born 3/21/1863 in Woidhofen, Germany. She is my mother's great great grandmother therefore she is my 3x great grandmother. She died 10/28/1948 never knowing the picture of her hands destin to fame. The photo was taken after they had just lost their second farm due to the great dust bowl.

Steichen liked this one too, I guess

This photo was in the famous "Family of Man" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. In the catalogue, it's on p. 79,

I miss my grandmother's hands.

Mrs. Ostermeyer's hands remind me of another woman's...my grandmother's! "Nanny" also lived through the Depression--the twisted, gnarled hands that had picked & chopped cotton, wrung chicken necks, and sewn her family's clothes were the very best back-scratching hands God ever put on this earth! When Nanny would flip up the back of your shirt (usually Johnny Carson's Tonight Show) and scratch your back, you were guaranteed to MELT!

 
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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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