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Little Rock: 1935

Little Rock: 1935

Interior of tenant farmer home. Little Rock, Arkansas. October 1935. The "round thing" is an old-fashioned convex mirror. View full size. Photo by Ben Shahn.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Still in print.

That looks to be 'Maggie and Jiggs' up top and Wimpy and Bluto, 'Brutus', in earlier series, below it. I can understand why they would paste up the funnies on their walls, you can get them on expensive wallpaper nowadays.


I think there's a Popeye comic in the background.

The Round Thing

The "faint image" is the photographer. It's an old-fashioned convex mirror.


it looks more like a picture frame with the domed glass faint image of something in the picture

There's an abandoned house

There's an abandoned house on an old farm I used to live on with my partner that has tongue and groove wainscoting. In other parts of the house there's newspaper all over as a wind barrier, but they've only used the news and classifieds sections. Based on the papers we can see, it dates from about 1942.


I think it was intentional that the family, forced to use newspaper as insulation, deliberately picked parts of the paper that were pictorial and cheery- such as the comics. It's sort of moving to think of- the comics pages would have a little color and joy..


an oval mirror


or a roasting pan lid...


looks like an oval photo frame, as was common in that era.

Interior of tenant farmer home. Little Rock, Arkansas

And that paper job is on an interior wall, not exterior. Maybe for privacy?

Interior of tenant farmer home. Little Rock, Arkansas

Umm--can anyone tell what that "thing" is hanging down into the top of the picture?


The houses had just boards for walls so newspaper, cardboard, or wallpaper was used to keep out the wind. My grandparents house, built in 1917, was like this only I remember they had wallpaper. Over the years new wallpaper was layered over the old so a decent wind barrier was formed but it didn't keep out the cold. Indoor plumbing was added in the 1950's but it was always a treat to take a bath in the washtub outside.

It's interesting to note in

It's interesting to note in both this picture and the Domestic Bliss photograph the use of newspapers to seal the walls of the houses, probably to stop the wind and rain from blowing through the houses.

Little Rock 1935

Three pictures on this page have children pictured. In two of the pictures the children were noted. Yet in the above photo, only the room was worthy of comment.

[That's the caption as Ben Shahn wrote it. Evidently he wasn't one to belabor the obvious - Dave]

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