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Behind the Scenes: 1938

Behind the Scenes: 1938

September 1938. Westover, West Virginia. Marion Post Wolcott and her intrepid camera head downstairs: "Miner takes shower, which he built in the cellar of his home." View full size. Medium-format negative, Farm Security Administration.


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Mining Photos

One of the most extensive collections of Mining Photography and mining artifacts is located within the West Virginia State Archives and State Museum Collection at the Cultural Center in Charleston. I have compared the faces of miners in the hand-loading era with those of sailors in the sail era. They are strikingly similar. I guess the stress and strain of an extremely dangerous, and physically demanding job took its toll all who were there.

[Was there something memorable about this face in particular? - Dave]

Basement Shower

My grandfather built a shower in the basement of his family's farmhouse in New Martinsville, WV back in the 40's. Until the late fifties that was the only bathroom plumbing in the house. A two-tub sink and a full mirror, along with a medicine cabinet and shelf for towels stand beside it. It's still where we're instructed to go when we get dirty working 365 acres of land. This picture is every bit of familiar to me.

Basement Shower

Many miners, farmers and others who get very dirty at work have showers in the basement so that they don't spread the coal dust/dirt through the house.

Bargain Basement

Are you sure this is not Montana? I see Butte.
At least we are not seeing junk this time.

Seriously, why put a shower downstairs? This has to be one of the oddest pictures you have unearthed yet.

[Probably because there's no bathroom upstairs. - Dave]

Who'll Hold the Camera?

And the next photo shows Marion wedged under his chassis.

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