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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Paper Doll: 1936

Paper Doll: 1936

May 1936. "Kitchen of Ozarks cabin purchased for Lake of the Ozarks project. Missouri." Photo by Carl Mydans, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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Worker housing?

Bagnell Dam, which created the Lake of the Ozarks, was finished in 1931, and the lake filled up in less than 2 years (per Wikipedia). So apparently this cabin wasn't bought because it would be in the flooded area - maybe it was housing for one of the construction crew, and he just kept living there later?

(The dam for the big lake to the west, Truman Lake, didn't start construction until 1964.)

Christmas Club

When I saw the ad for "Christmas Club" in the newspaper I immediately tripped down memory lane. When I was a little girl I remember going to the Bridgeville National Bank to start a new Christmas club. First you would pick the amount to save and then made payments to this free account so you would have money to buy Christmas gifts for friends and family. This club was open to adults and minors and many a Christmas was funded by this club. Hope I made sense - more like a savings account that you could only receive during the month of December.

No smoke detectors

I wouldn't want to consider the level of fire hazard in this kitchen.

The newspaper curtain has a nice touch. Somebody really cares. But God help the occupants of this residence if the stove backfires.

Newspaper for wall covering.

My mother has told me many stories of her childhood.

She remembers well her mother using a flour/water mix to paste newsprint on the walls. It sealed the cracks and was a very good insulator. But that didn't stop the wind from blowing up through the floor or her seeing critters between the floor board cracks.

She also tells with great detail how their house burned to the ground when she was four.

One final thought, she told me her mother would set the bed posts in small cans of kerosene to keep the bed bugs from crawling into bed with you at night.

Life was much different back in the 30's and 40's.


I would be surprised if that shack lasted more than a week or two without burning down. We have dried out single ply newspaper hanging on the walls inches from a wood fired stove and hot pipe, and as if that was not enough there is what appears to be a kerosene can just to the left of the little girl's feet. I just hope nobody was inside when it went up.

Mrs. Roosevelt's newspaper column

On the wall to the left of the stove and just above the washboard, the newspaper/wallpaper has Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt's almost-daily column called "My Day". I believe she was much more in front of the American public on a regular basis than our most recent First Ladies - and not just in the papers. Lot of people didn't like that, but many others did. Mrs. FDR wrote that column from 1935 to 1962 six days a week. She was a force to be reckoned with.

Fox Trouble

It would appear that Mr. Fox has earned himself the unwelcome attention of the farmer. Looks like a nice, well used fox trap hanging there.


The valence above the window is amazing! And think that today someone out in the Hamptons is paying an interior decorator big bucks for a reproduction print wallpaper similar to this for a powder-room!

Bike Helmet?

Is that some early motorized bike helmet hanging on the wall?

I have to wonder too if the girl would be reading the newspapers and wonder what a "Christmas Club" was.

Aviator Helmet

The little girl must have a brother. As poor as they seem to be the little feller managed to snag a new one. I always get a kick seeing kids wear those in the movies and in photos. There's nothing like an ornery looking kid in goggles, I laugh out loud every time.

Amazingly Resilient!

Despite the crushing poverty this family had to endure, the little girl's dress may be dirty but her face is clean, and her smile is both endearing and hopeful. I am amazed how someone (probably her mom) cut the newpaper over the window into the shape and resemblance of what I believe is called a "valance" over the window. How brave, resilient, and resourceful these people were. Amazing Americans!

SHORPY OLD 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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