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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Double Jeopardy: 1940

Double Jeopardy: 1940

August 1940. "Miner at Dougherty's mine, near Falls Creek, Pennsylvania." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano. 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!

Troubles Come in Threes

It is bad enough that he is exposed to coal dust in his work and that he could get lung cancer from the cigarettes but that tumor on his right eye needs to be looked at also. Poor guy probably couldn't afford to get medical attention.

[Or he smacked his head into something or someone. I had an egg just like that caused by head-to-pavement contact. - Dave]

What Is

Coal Dust and Cigarette Smoke, Alex.

Tale of belt holes

From the way the holes in his belt are worn it looks like he gained a bit of weight (the hole to the right of the one currently in use is stretched), then he lost a good bit (he had to punch a hole to make the belt even smaller than the last hole allowed), and now he's moved up to the last machine-punched hole again.

I'm originally from the patch.

Very close to Mauch Chunk, now known as Jim Thorpe. This poor guy is probably about 17 years old.

My Grandfather

worked in the coal mines in the Lehigh Valley and contracted the black lung disease. My grandmother told me when I was about 8 that she would place newspaper on the floor on his side of the bed at night because he would wake up and start hacking out some very bad black stuff. In the morning she would wrap up the newspaper and put it out in the trash. She did this for about ten years until he died just before WWII began. When he quit the mines he found a job as a train conductor on on the Lehigh Valley railroad and I wound up with his Hamilton pocket watch that he used as part of his job.

Black Lung

Big Coal: "It's the cigarettes!"
Big Tobacco: "No, it's the coal dust!"

Sixteen Tons

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you, then the left one will!

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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