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Black Earth: 1941

Black Earth: 1941

August 1941. "Farmer at Black Earth, Wisconsin." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Size of the matter

Two very small men or one very large man?

Dirt collectors

I know it was the practice to roll up your pants cuffs back then, but if you had any kind of job that involved dirt, dust, chips or chaff you had to empty them out at the end of the day.

My guess

5'4", 5'2", 6'5".

A recent hand injury won't keep our giant farmer from doing what he's got to do.

A matter of perspective

This photo reminds me of one of those rooms in a science museum (or fun house) that demonstrate perspective. The guy on the right is actually the same size as the others, he's just sitting on smaller steps.


Look at their hands. They are hands that know work. Not a very common sight anymore. But go to most any farm, construction or logging site or blacksmith, woodshop, you can still see them. Right or wrong, I've judged a man's worth by his hands. I know a lot of people don't have jobs that make their hands rough but it does tell you something. And rough hands on a woman can tell you a lot as well.

Big and Tall Shop Needed?

The guy on the right appears to be vertically endowed and he has broad shoulders too.

Conveniently located

Today, most folks go to Black Earth to visit the Shoe Box, "the Midwest's largest shoe store." About twenty miles west on Route 14 is Spring Green, home of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. Definitely worth a visit.

I used to live in Mount Horeb, ten miles south of Black Earth.

Suspendered in time

When galluses ruled the world.

Iron Rangers

Made in Red Wing, Minnesota, since 1905. Pretty sure that’s what our farmer on the right is wearing. Darn good boots.

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