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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 • THE ARTIST'S GARDEN BY CLAUDE MONET

Potatoes? I'll Say!

Potatoes? I'll Say!

Washington, D.C., circa 1940. "Caption missing." A table laden with delicacies from Maine, attended by two ladies who seem to be debating the merits of their respective spuds. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Ladylike

The woman wearing gloves looks like my maternal grandmother - the dark, perfectly arranged hair, the careful lipstick, the neat suit. She too wouldn't dream of leaving the house without gloves, hat and a starched and ironed handkerchief in her handbag.

This spud's for you

We still grow 'em like that up here in Northern Maine (Aroostook County). My grandfather spent his entire life doing it. As a young teen, I earned a nice piece of change each season picking them in the fields as they were freshly dug. Worked from daylight till dawn, easily earn $20-25 per day tax-free. Doesn't sound like much now, but back in the 1940s, that would buy you most anything you wanted -- a new bike, a .22 rifle, a guitar, etc. Of course, these days harvesting is all done mechanically.

Water is fine

But I want to know where the Vitameatavegemin is.

Maine's Exports

STATE OF MAINE POTATOES
For you Health's Sake eat more Maine-Grown Potatoes
Rich in needed minerals and Vitamins
1938_maine_potatoes

Poland Water
PLAY SAFE WITH POLAND
1938_poland_water

1938 Advertisements

Poland Spring Water

After a hot night of busing tables at the Poland Spring House summer of 1963, we'd grab a chilled half-gallon bottle of PS Water, just like the ones shown here, and sink most of it in a minute or two. The water came from the spring down the hill, the bottles were recycled. The only expense was the bottle cap. Never drank better water.

Save this photo

Because it's the only time you'll ever see Senator Snowe and Rush that close together.

Listen You

"See here. These tubers are to be consumed individually according to the dictates of the Great State of Maine. These are not your common potAHtoes and shan't be treated as such."

"Look, lady. We'll eat these any old way we like. I'm through arguing with you. I'm making a fist with my left hand. With my right, I'm going to show you just how mashed potatoes were invented."

$500 Reward?

Just for drinking club soda? I'LL TAKE IT!

Margaret Chase Smith

The lady on the right looks like Margaret Chase Smith -- congresswoman from Maine who served in both the House and Senate.

[I don't think so. - Dave]

The eyes have it

I didn't realize that Poland Spring has been in business this long. I also didn't realize that having a potato handy really attracts the babes !

What it means to be from Maine

Good to see Poland Spring represented back in the day. They own the bottled water market here in New England. I don't think they make Ginger Ale anymore though.

Oh, yeah!

From the stern look on the face of Mrs. Left, those potatoes were soon to be projectiles!

"State of Maine" logo colors

If you look at the sign held by the boy in the middle of the photo, you'll see a tri-color logo for "State of Maine" potatoes. This was a common advertising theme, and I remember it most from boxcars in the '50s and '60s.

On this Shorpy image: http://www.shorpy.com/node/2252?size=_original , you can see one of those boxcars Red over White over Blue, peeking out behind a loco in the center of the photo. A Google search for "State of Maine" boxcar will yield a lot of photos of the (famous) Lionel model of this boxcar color scheme.

Also note the "Poland Water" bottles. Of course, that would be from Poland Springs, famous and available even today as bottled mineral water: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland_Spring - notes some controversies over the source of the water these days...)

I make no comments on the appendages on the head of the two women in this photo :-)

Mad hatters

Did any self respecting woman back in the forties ever appear in public without a hat, even for a discussion of potatoes?

Food FIght!

It looks like the two women are about to get into a deadly serious dispute as to who is holding the better potato. I can't speak to the quality of the spuds, but for the fight itself I'll have to put my money on the woman on the left. I'm afraid she's pretty serious about this matter. (Nice tiara, by the way!)

Fortunately, it appears that the smiling kid in the middle is trying to mediate by getting them to set down their taters and shake hands. Oh, wait a minute....

 
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