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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Life With Father: 1941

Life With Father: 1941

May 1941. San Diego. "Family living at Kearney Mesa defense housing project. This man came to California from Oklahoma 10 years ago. He has been an agricultural worker living in various Farm Security Administration camps. Now employed as a painter at Consolidated Aircraft." Photo by Russell Lee. View full size.

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My father was a coal miner in WV and did not serve.
As we later learned, mining was almost as dangerous as the war.

Military? Perhaps not.

As Dave has pointed out, many men did not serve in the military in WW II. As a father with two children, working in what likely became a defense plant, he may have been kept stateside. My father was a supervisor at a GM factory in Michigan and while his brothers served, he stayed home.


If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Shorpy (amongst many, actually), it’s that women in the 1930s and 40s look a helluva lot older than they actually are. (And is it just me, or do her eyes seem to float in two entirely different planes?)

ON Kearny Mesa

The Kearny Mesa section of San Diego is at higher elevation than much of the city itself. Many valleys and hills in the area, thus the term 'mesa'. Picky oldtimers who know best refer to it as ON Kearny Mesa as opposed to IN. BTW, I have much family still in nearby Linda Vista (yet another common SHORPY topography reference) and my mother was in the first graduating class at Kearny High (on Kearny Mesa). Go Komets!

[You might live "on" Kearney Mesa, but you live AT the Kearney Mesa Defense Housing Project. - Dave]

What Comes Next?

The photo and description begs so many questions. Did he fight in the war? Did he earn enough at Consolidated to buy her a wedding ring? Was he ever injured in an Oakland car accident? Whatever the answers, I hope they lived with few regrets and pride in their children.

I married Mom?

Maybe it's the hairstyle, but does anyone else think the woman looks to be much older than her husband?

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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