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Coal Miner's Daughter: 1938

Coal Miner's Daughter: 1938

September 1938. "Children of coal miners. Scotts Run, West Virginia." Medium format nitrate negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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Sad little faces

If such photos did not exist, today's generations could not even believe how hard times used to be only a few tens of years ago!

The Look

As with many of the children we see on Shorpy from the turn of the century and the depression era, the girl has a face much older than she is. She looks as if she's seen 40 years of hard times.

What an odd study in contrasts

The boy's duds look brand new -- certainly clean and freshly pressed. The little girl's dress, on the other hand, looks decidedly dirty and from the amount of wear I doubt that she's the first, or even the second, owner. (And is that a growler of beer she's toting?)

At first I took them for siblings, which made the contrast even more striking, but the caption suggests that they aren't brother and sister.

Such dignity

What a dignified little girl. You can see she's a proud kid, despite here dirty dress and tattered slip. The kid on the right seems much too prosperous for his surroundings, like a prep-school kid seeing how the other half lives.

The woman in the background

Would be a minder of miners' minors.

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