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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 • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

iTunes: 1939

iTunes: 1939

April 1939. "White migrant strawberry picker playing guitar in his tent near Hammond, Louisiana." Safety negative by Russell Lee. View full size.

 

Completely fascinated

It's like looking into a frozen moment in time in every detail. Extremely fascinating as all these images are. What is funny is to read the comments and how people tend to post flippant comments with absolutely no concept of perspective the time period and the situation. I see a young man living in a tent enjoying a short respite away from the rigor of hard work and poverty in extreme focus. Pointing out that he is a white migrant strawberry picker is not different if he were black and the title read black migrant strawberry picker. The moment, circumstance and situation would remain the same. So much detail and oddly enough beauty caught in one frame. It is amazing to me.

Not Just a Movie

Perhaps a packet of rolling tobacco?

Strung Out

The University of North Carolina Libraries have some interesting details about Tobacco Bag Stringing.

That rolling pin

may explain the shoes. Or vice versa (let's hope).

In his pocket

I'm trying to figure out what is in his pocket, and is it attached to that string?

[A pack of cigarettes. I recall having this discussion earlier about a different guitar player, but can't find it in the comments. Help! - Dave]

Castrol etc.

"Germ-Processed" motor oil came from castor beans, not corn, and was paraffin based. Castrol (a contraction of "castor oil") was one such product.

Bringing bad luck

I don't know if I just have strange relatives (well yes I do, but I digress) or if it is a common superstition, but as far back as I can remember, we were warned NEVER to place a hat on a bed because a hat on a bed was a sign of impending death to someone close to you. Whenever I mention that today, people think I'm crazy (well maybe I am, but aren't we all?). Its a lot like breaking a mirror but worse.

[You and Matt Dillon. - Dave]

Well, on second thought

Maybe he was picking white migrant strawberries.

Sign of the times

Funny how they felt it was necessary to point out that he is white.

Germ Processed Motor Oil

Conoco developed a process for making motor oil from corn "germ" (hypocotyl) back in the early 1930s.

 
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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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