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About the Photos

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 • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

Oklahoma: 1940

Oklahoma: 1940

February 1940. "Farm boys at play party in McIntosh County, Oklahoma." Safety negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

Play for your supper

My mother was one of 12 kids, all born at home on a dirt floor during the Great Depression. I remember many times when our families would get together and spend an evening just singing and visiting. When I was 12 I asked my grandmother what it was like being so poor. She said, "We didn't know we were poor. We were always happiest when we had each other."

Poverty with dignity

Yes, they know what "poor" is evidenced by the threadbare clothes, patches on patches, hand-stitched, recycled shirts, austere surroundings. Still, the family closeness, the anticipation of music and song, the heart-melting smile on the youngest boy's face, all of it indicates there was still joy and hope in this family. Possibly these kids can still be with us and I hope their lives improved. I love their optimism and togetherness.

The girl in the upper right

The girl in the upper right is stunning...high cheekbones, aquiline nose, gorgeous skin and long eye lashes. Wow.

Dad appears exhausted to the nth degree.

Happy Days

Of the five people in the picture, the little boy on the right seems to be the only one really enjoying himself. Those fedoras look great.

That Face

In general I don't like to comment on the attractiveness or otherwise of the women shown in these old Shorpy photos, but I'll make an exception here. That face in the top right: absolutely beautiful. And made somehow timeless by the fact that we can't see her no-doubt dated hairstyle.

Reminds me of Texas

I lived in Marfa, in far southwest Texas, for six years during the 1950s. This looks like a picture from that time in my childhood.

 
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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