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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Person County: 1939

Person County: 1939

July 1939. Farm boy in the doorway of a tobacco barn. Person County, North Carolina. View full size. Photograph by Dorothea Lange.

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Hole in the wall

That hole is probably part of the "curing" system. They used wood fire to cure the tobacco.

I saw some tobacco curing structures in Kentucky which are different from North Carolina, but had the same objective.

I like the photo and the young man in the door.


Tobacco is not a sin, nice story anyway

My grandfather grew up

My grandfather grew up share-cropping on tobacco farms in Person County, NC during the Great Depression. He was finally able to purchase a farm of his own with help from the GI Bill after serving in Europe during WW2. Though we are all aware of the sins of tobacco, the relatively high dollar value of tobacco allowed small farm holders to eek out a living for their families. I spent several summers of my youth working in his fields in Caswell County, as well as for other farmers in Person, Orange and Vance counties. I'm glad for the experience, but would never choose to do it again.

Not a home to weather strip

My father is the same age as the boy in the photo.
Wish Lange had backed up and put more of the barn
in the photo. That one is a fairly nice model!
The hole is for smoke more than likely, as many
of these barns were heated with chopped wood. The
farmer would split wood all winter and spring to
have enough wood to cure the tobacco in the summer.
While this child may look poor, farm children fared
better than city folk during the Great Depression.
I helped harvest tobacco from age 8 to 18. It's
hot sticky work.

A fixer-upper

Might want to put a little weatherstripping on that foot-wide hole in the wall

Very serious worker. I dig

Very serious worker.
I dig his toes.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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