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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Perfect Eats: 1942

Perfect Eats: 1942

April 1942. "In the Perfect Eat Shoppe, a restaurant on 47th Street near Chicago's South Park; Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morris (standing at rear and left), proprietors." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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Why OWI?

Wonderful photo. Love to explore the details.

Why would this type of photo be of interest to the Office of War Information?

Nay

Ha. Just when I thought Dave could not possibly get any cleverer.

[Just plain horse sense, actually. -tterrace]

Style

Love Mrs. Morris's art-deco-ish satin blouse with the curved embroidered details. And the girl in the foreground, with her carefully coiffed curls and saddle shoes! (and that horse watch!)

The watch

The pretty girl in the fore has a watch on. Can anybody make out what is on the face?

[Neigh. - Dave]

Downtown Bronzeville

This restaurant was located in the heart of Chicago's old South Side black ghetto, once known as Bronzeville. The reference to "Chicago's South Park" alludes to South Park Way, a major north-south boulevard running 100 blocks through the South Side. It was known as Grand Boulevard prior to 1909; after 1968 it was renamed Martin Luther King Drive. In St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton's "Black Metropolis: Study of Negro Life in a Northern City" (1945), we find the following passage:

"On a spring or summer day this spot, "47th and South Park," is the urban equivalent of a village square." ...

"This is Bronzeville's central shopping district, where rents are highest and Negro merchants compete fiercely with whites for the choicest commercial spots. A few steps away from the intersection is the "largest Negro-owned department store in America," attempting to challenge the older and more experienced white retail establishments across the street. At an exclusive "Eat Shoppe" just off the boulevard, you may find a Negro Congressman or ex-Congressman dining at your elbow, or former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, beret pushed back on his head, chuckling at the next table; in the private dining room there may be a party of civic leaders, black and white, planning reforms."

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