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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Tri-County Co-op: 1940

Tri-County Co-op: 1940

September 1940. "Customers entering Tri-County Farmers Co-op Market in Du Bois, Pennsylvania." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

Never too warm for fur stoles

Question I sent to my Mom, who grew up in North Central PA in the 30's and 40's: Who would wear a fur stole to a farmers co-op in 1940? In DuBois? The heels and gloves don’t surprise me, but the fur does.

Answer from Mom: It probably is Mrs. Straub! Seriously, Mother, Aunt Betty, and Aunt Verna wore their fur stoles whenever they could! And the commenter is surely right that the date is a cool summer day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Even after I was married I wore a hat and white gloves almost everywhere (except to sporting events and to the farms) summer and winter, when we went to the Diamond Market in Pittsburgh! I remember wearing hat and white gloves to wives' club luncheons at least until we left for Japan (1962), so I think it was not until after the Kennedy family brought more casual clothing into our lives that this would have changed.

I don't know about that person's suggesting the woman in white shoes is a maid. Your grandma and mine wore those same white shoes all summer unless they were wearing their other white ones which had open air designs punched or cut out across the toes for coolness. They were of different generations, but they both wore those sensible shoes until they died.

(I think Mom's joke about Mrs. Straub is a reference to the presumably rich wife of the area's brewer).

Waiting, not so patiently...

The Dapper Dan behind the wheel is staring after them, thinking he'd like to get home to his Sunday paper and later, when it's decent, a scotch and soda. But given the long tradition of men waiting in cars for ladies to shop, he knows that it'll be a while.

Shoes

Okay, here's the problem. The lady on the right is wearing heels into a farmer's market. The "floor" consists of hay, dirt, and probably chicken poop. The heels on her shoes would quickly sink into the muck. Her companion is much better outfitted for this kind of excursion.

Great gams!

...the one with the black shoes, I mean.

BYO Jar

The little jar may be for honey, which many of the farmers probably brought in larger containers. Honey being sold by weight, it it a simple matter to weigh the jar first empty, then filled, and charge accordingly.

Sunday best

Looks like they have on their Sunday best to me. Stopping on the way home from church to pick up a few things and maybe some good gossip.

A business relationship

My grandmother was housekeeper for a well-to-do lady and had lots of white work shoes, so I will bet that the white shoes are worn by the housekeeper; she is also without hat and wears a plain dress. They are out for some fresh produce, though the little jar is a curiosity. Must be a chilly September afternoon in DuBois.

Wish I could see the rest of that shiny bike...a Schwinn?

All dressed up.

Most people commenting here are too young to remember that at one time it was considered to be in bad taste to NOT "dress up" to go out in public. That begin to change in the 60's. My parents called it laziness. In the mid 50s as a small child, I was made to wear my Sunday best when I accompanied my mom on a shopping trip to town. Not at all unusual to see people dressed in Sunday clothes at an amusement park or a ballgame. It was considered a sign of respect to others as well as to oneself.

Pittsburghese

And that's pronounced "Du BOYZ," ladies and gentlemen. No snooty "Du BWA" for us Western Pennsylvanians.

Ode to June (Cleaver)

I shall retreat with my sweats and baseball cap and pretend I always put on a dress and the heels to go to the store ...

Mrs. Peanut

A bit overdressed for an errand to buy a sack of collards and a pound of tomatoes it seems to me.

White shoes

I place this photo as September 1 or 2 of 1940, since it is against the rules of propriety to wear white shoes after Labor Day.

 
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