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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Gaston Street: 1939

Gaston Street: 1939

Savannah, Georgia, circa 1939. "312 Gaston Street West." 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

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Warm spot in the sun

I think she wanted the warmth of the sun on her instead of sitting in the chair in the shade. It looks like she is wearing a cardigan, so maybe she was chilly. Or I'm just projecting October weather in Chicago onto her down in Savannah.

Waiting for ...

I also think they are waiting for someone to come down the road. Grandma looks to be facing to the west, which would explain the late afternoon sun. Maybe the big kids are almost ready to come home from school?


She felt that she'd seen enough of what life can bring and the child has some hope for her future. Maybe that was the whole point of the photo, not just the house.


I wondered that, too. I figure she might be waiting for someone to arrive in that direction since she and the child look dressed to go somewhere. Or she did not want the sun in her eyes. Or she wanted to put her feet up on the stool and for some reason the stool could not be easily moved. But I vote for waiting for someone to come by to get them.

I get the feeling that the house is very orderly and neat inside. And that there is a tidy garden behind the wooden fence.

Whistler's Mother

Isn't it odd that the adult in this picture would choose to just face the bottom of the porch and stare at the floorboards rather than look outward toward "where the action is" as the child did? The woman is even faced the same way as Whistler's Mother. I would have chosen the rocking chair on the left of the porch and looked forward toward the horizon which might be a bit more interesting (unless she enjoyed observing termites at work).

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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