Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.
Vintage photos of:
October 1940. "Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, coming out of his dugout home at Pie Town, New Mexico." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Russell Lee. Another example of the dugout-style structure used for the homesteader dwellings and church in the Dead Ox Flat photos. Before industry and technology gave us sawmills and frame houses, this is how the average person lived in much of the world. The dugout or pit house, with sod roof, log walls and earthen floor, is among the most ancient of human dwellings -- at some point in history your ancestors lived in one. Especially popular among 19th-century settlers in the Great Plains and deserts of the West and Southwest, where trees and other building materials were scarce, dugouts were warmer in winter and cooler in summer than above-ground structures; just about anywhere in North America the ground temperature three feet down is 55 degrees regardless of the season. [Addendum: This picture was taken using Kodachrome sheet film (5 inches by 4 inches) and (probably) a Graflex Speed Graphic press camera. The image you see here was scanned from the positive transparency itself, not a print.]