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Porch of Plenty: 1957

Porch of Plenty: 1957

September 1957. "The Willis Cooper family on the front porch of their farmhouse near Radcliffe, Iowa, surrounded by animals and foods." 35mm color transparency from photos by Jim Hansen for the Look magazine assignment "Iowa family." View full size.

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Children of the Corn

I’ve been waiting for someone to say it. I mean, those unblinking twins. They’re sitting right under the corn, for goodness sake.

An interesting couple and a good life

Everyone should read the obituary of Mrs. Cooper that was linked by robstercraws. Most people would think that the Coopers simply farmed and stayed in one place, eventually moving into town or into a retirement home. But the Coopers farmed in four different communities in Iowa. Mrs. Cooper was a registered nurse, which I'm sure was helpful with kids in the home, and a farmer husband; she also worked as a hospital nurse for 20 years in Iowa, continuing after a move to Arkansas in 1984. After that she got her real estate license and worked for a broker. Then in retirement, the Coopers ran a quilting business. They also managed to get their private pilot's licenses during the 1970s, and flew a Cessna 172 for ten years.

There's not as much information about Willis Cooper, but we do know from Mrs. Cooper's obit that the Coopers' first home after marriage was at Childress Army Airfield in Childress, Texas, where bombardiers and navigators were trained during World War II.

All in all, a good long life.

The cat!

If this were my family, I'd be the little guy holding the cat. I don't see any dogs, that's good.

[Why does that cat quack? - Dave]

Over-produced (and I don't mean the food)

I can remember, growing up, how often LOOK photos struck me as so obvious, set up and posed, that they shouted fake. Sophisticated older me realizes that ALL photos are set up, but the LOOK ones still shout at me.

American Agrarian

Beautiful home, beautiful crops, beautiful livestock, beautiful family. Jefferson would have loved this. Makes me wonder what is down the cellar steps.

There's no accounting for taste

My hat is off to the Look producer who set all this up. He gave us two fantastic photos.

Can we not

I hate to be the one to say it but this family took staged photos to the same insane levels they took canning and preserving. It didn't suffice that every surface in the kitchen was covered with production results, and new surfaces had to be created, only to be covered like the others. Now the jars are hanging on the front of the house. Enough is enough already, folks. Start eating it.

[This is the vision of some magazine art director (or “producer,” as they were called at Look). The compliant Coopers, along with their Mason jars, are mere props. - Dave]

The producer needed to sit down and have a cookie.

Looks just like Wilbur

Cute little shoat he's holding there, and should be ready for slaughter this time next year.

American Gothic


What the heck

Looks like moving day.

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