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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

After Taxes: 1939

After Taxes: 1939

February 1939. "White mother with children at migrant camp. Weslaco, Texas." Background for this series of photos as recorded by Russell Lee in his notes: "Local employment men say that there was no need for migrant labor to handle the citrus and vegetable crops in the valley, the local supply of labor being ample for this purpose. Most of the local labor is Mexican and the labor contractors favor Mexican labor over white labor, partly because the Mexican will work much cheaper than whites. One white woman who was a permanent resident said that the white people who lived in the valley had no trouble with the Mexicans. The Mexicans were good neighbors, she said, always willing to share what they had. She said the white migrants who came into the valley and resented and misunderstood the Mexicans caused the trouble between the two races. Some towns in this section permit camping only in trailers. The charge for camping in tents is about fifty cents per week, including water, which in some cases must be carried four city blocks. Privies are tin, very bad condition. Garbage is collected only once a week, with large dumps of decaying fruits and vegetables scattered among the camps. Some of the white migrants in this camp were very suspicious of governmental activity, due to the use by south Texas newspapers of the term 'concentration camps' referring to Farm Security Administration camps." Medium format nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the FSA. View full size.

 

Hitting the Low Notes: 1938

Hitting the Low Notes: 1938

October 1938. "Specialty number of orchestra at the National Rice Festival. Crowley, Louisiana." View full size. Medium format negative by Russell Lee.

 

Aviary: 1943

Aviary: 1943

Aircraft assembly plant circa 1943, location and photographer unknown. Medium format safety negative, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Battle of the Bands: 1938

Battle of the Bands: 1938

October 1938. "Musicians in cajun band contest at the National Rice Festival. Crowley, Louisiana." View full size. Medium format negative by Russell Lee.

 

Our Town: 1941

Our Town: 1941

July 1941. Vincennes, Indiana. View full size. 35mm negative by John Vachon.

 

Reading Room: 1936

Reading Room: 1936

December 1936. Untitled photograph taken in rural Iowa by Russell Lee for the Resettlement Administration. 35mm nitrate negative. View full size.

 

Cajun Cooking: 1938

Cajun Cooking: 1938

October 1938. "Musicians in cajun band contest at the National Rice Festival. Crowley, Louisiana." View full size. Medium format negative by Russell Lee.

 
 
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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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