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Papered Over: 1937

Papered Over: 1937

February 1937. "Negroes at Gee's Bend, Alabama. Descendants of slaves of the Pettway plantation. They are still living very primitively on the plantation." Here we see one of the celebrated Gee's Bend quilts. Medium format nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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I should be grateful

How did they endure this, their faith must have been strong. However a fine job of wallpapering and the newseum. A testament to the human spirit.

Newspaper Wallpaper

Newspaper on the walls was very common back then. Most houses for lower income people were just boards nailed up to the studs with no insulation at all. If you were lucky you got boards on the inside of the studs too. These were rough sawed and the gaps were large. The newspapers made the house much warmer in the winter.


$695 for a Studebaker? Awesome!


It helps insulate against drafts coming through the boards.

Quilt and...

That's a very nice quilt, I wonder if the family still has it.

What's the use of putting up newspaper on the walls? Why not just leave it bare?


Is that the Dionne quintuplets on the wall?

It looks that they replaced their newspaper wallpaper fairly often, it looks so clean and fresh.

Gee's Bend Quilts

Here is one of the famous Gee's Bend quilts. The skilled quilters of Gee's Bend have achieved international recognition with ongoing exhibits of their needlework. Their quilt designs were featured on U.S. postage stamps in 2006.

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