SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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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Swing Your Partner: 1942

Swing Your Partner: 1942

February 1942. "Farm Security Administration Mercer G. Evans camp in Weslaco, Texas. Drake family playing for a Saturday night dance." Medium format negative by the under-appreciated Arthur Rothstein. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Flash Bulb

Instead of lighting a smoke, I think the kid on the left is examining a flash bulb, probably a used one. What a great picture.

[I think you're right. -tterrace]

This building

looks like it was also used as the local theater. Probably used folding chairs which are now stacked in a corner somewhere.

Maybe I'll look older if I smoke

The young boy on the left appears to be getting ready to light up a cigarette. He may not impress the girls, but if his mother is there, he may get some unwanted attention.

Girls dancing with girls

Not surprising given the date. Enlistments were huge in early 1942.

The saddest dance ever

Most of these people look like they were forced to show up for picture day.

First lessons?

I'm no great dancer, but it's worth noting that nobody but the middle couple is positioned right; the man's right hand needs to gently pull at the lady's waist, and the woman's left hand needs to gently push him away on the shoulder. So I'd guess these folks are a bit new to dancing.

Hope they had fun anyways, and as a former nerdy, snot-nosed 12 year old (36 years ago), I hope some of those boys were in fact dragged out of their chairs in the same way I was back when.

Girls dancing with Girls

... and young boys too nervous, or shy.

[Or maybe the story this photo tells is of girls who'd rather wait for their turn with the man in the middle and waltz with each other, than dance with a bunch of grubby 12-year-olds. - Dave]

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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