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Fairest of Them All: 1941

Fairest of Them All: 1941

March 1941. "Mother and child. Bedford County farm, Virginia." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Is that a big stove pipe behind mom's face? Is the stove in the middle of the room? It just looks very strange to my eyes today in 2020.

[It's a stove ducted through a closed-up fireplace. -Dave]

Bobby Pin

Bobby pins used to be everywhere. They were great if dangerous projectiles to shoot from a rubber-band powered hand-slingshot, making a satisfying whistling bullet noise.

Picture frames

My mom had five silver picture frames on the top of her bureau, the same size as those two with the man and the woman. The frames contained photos of her five children as little ones, and she had to polish the five frames about once a year, with Silvo and a rag, which she didn’t seem to mind. Also on the same bureau top was a silver set of brush and comb and mirror, with tortoiseshell trim.

Reflection of Life

John Vachon was a master with his camera. Catching the baby's face, plus mom's in the mirror is not an effortless task - especially keeping himself out of the picture. On another note, today's generation would consider the living conditions depicted here as "squalor" but was the norm for many of our ancestors who didn't give it much thought and were happy nonetheless. Sadly, I know some people today who could call CPS to report the conditions in which this child was living. Too much is taken for granted these days.

The look of love.

A lovely, timeless photo. I'm suddenly thinking of my own mother, with tenderness. I hope you're thinking of yours.

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