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Meet the Labbes: 1940

Meet the Labbes: 1940

October 1940. "Mr. and Mrs. Lindore Labbe and children in their newly-built home. Mr. Labbe, FSA client, runs a small seed foundation unit in Wallagrass, Maine." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Construction paper

Looks like some of that paper is load-bearing.

I'm amazed

at the amount of French-Canadians who infiltrated Maine, another fact from Shorpy to us in Canadaland.


In France, adding an accent on a capital letter is uncommon. In Québec, we do. So, in France: LABBE. In Québec: LABBÉ (or LABBÉE).

Thoughts on the room

I'm surprised no one has mentioned those STAIRS yet!

Cobbled together from left-over bits of T&G flooring (otherwise visible where the lino stops), with no riser covers and treads too shallow for the steps. At least the visible stringer appears to be well laid out and cut.

And what about the vast amount of paper covering the walls and ceiling? Photo shoot setup, to provide better reflected lighting and to hide unfinished walls?

[It's how people of limited means covered their framing. Lots of photos in the archive like this. - Dave]

Way Ahead of His Time

Not only did Mr. Labbe anticipate television replacing the stove as center of attention, he anticipated the remote control.

BOO !!!

Apparently, a Halloween monster is preparing to scare those youngsters as he climbs out of the wall!

Accent aigu (and grave)

There's a longstanding debate over whether capital letters in French should be accented. The Académie Française has apparently decided yes, but it seems that the worker who carved the gravestone didn't get the memo. By the way, "Labbé" could well have been "L'abbé" originally, meaning "the abbot", but apostrophes in French surnames often get lost along the way.

Say Cheese!

The youngster in the white shirt seems particularly enthralled with the photographers assistant (with hand visible) standing behind the brick chimney firing the flash.

LL Bean Maine Hunting Shoes

Mr. Labbe has on a pair of what is now known as Bean Boots but at least into the 1990s these were Maine Hunting shoes. I have a pair from 1990. LL Bean offers a resoling as needed.

NASCAR tie in

In NASCAR there is a full time Canadian driver in the Xfinity series named Alex Labbé. There also is a Mainer from Saco who is a former crew chief and now consultant named Slugger Labbe.

La-bay and Lab-bee.

Settled in for the evening, they are.

Let's see what's on the coal stove tonight. Oh, a finial -- not again.

More to the story

According to, the name was spelled LABBÉ, with an accent aigu. Mrs. Labbê's name was Myrtle, and the daughters were Gail and Jacqueline. Lindore was born in 1902, and lived until 1987. Myrtle was born in 1901, and died in 1972. That house may have been new, but it looks almost absurdly underbuilt to withstand - let alone provide comfort - in Maine winters.

[Their grave marker, sans accent, gives 1901 as the birth year for both. - Dave]

Handrails are for wimps

If you fall, you might get lucky and land in the comfy chair.

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