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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Lad of the Flies: 1939

Lad of the Flies: 1939

July 1939. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "Children of May Avenue camp family in small shack used as sleeping quarters. Poverty-stricken inhabitants here dwell in squalor, filth and vermin." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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So Very Sad

It is almost incomprehensible to imagine such squalor in the United States. I feel so sorry for anyone of any age who has, or ever had, to live in conditions like this. I know things were bad at that time and I can only hope and pray that our citizens will never be subjected to conditions like this ever again.


This picture brought tears to my eyes.

Unimaginable misery

Could these innocent babies even think about how uncomfortable their lives were or imagine a more pleasant existence. It was most likely the only life they ever knew. Even in his descriptions of the poorest of the poor, Steinbeck could not convey in words how dire their lives were. A picture speaks a thousand words is not just a saying.

Eyeball Bleach, Please

Maybe a "Do Not Embiggen" warning, Dave?


This is, without question, the saddest photo I've ever seen on this site. My heart breaks for these poor kids.

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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