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.
Vintage photos of:
February 1939. "Ice for sale. Harlingen, Texas." View full size. Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. Here we have a very concise study in what you need for an ice business: Telephone, cash register, tongs, ice pick and a big block of you-know-what. Not to mention plenty of twine.
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.