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From the Great Depression to World War II - photos from the American Memory collection


DONNA LAFRAMBOISE  aka  TripodGirl
The American Memory collection contains more than 162,000 images taken between 1935 and 1944 by government-hired photographers. If you were to look at 100 of them per day, every day, you'd need more than four years to view them all. As a photographer, I consider these images nothing short of wondrous. This blog showcases some of them.

January 2, 2009

Trio

to locate this image on the American Memory website, click the link below
Two gorgeous portraits of Michigan youngsters in 1939.

to locate this image on the American Memory website, click the link below
Photos by Arthur S. Siegel.

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November 18, 2008

Army Supply

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms DODGE ARMY TRUCKSWhether American automobile manufacturers will survive the current economic crisis remains uncertain. Meanwhile it's interesting to recall that, back in the forties, these companies were central to the war effort.

The above photo was taken in 1942 by Arthur S. Siegel. The caption reads: "Chrysler Corporation. Dodge truck plant. Detroit, Michigan (vicinity). These long rows of Dodge Army trucks await shipment to various branches of the armed forces. Hundreds of army vehicles come off the Chrysler Corporation production lines daily."

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[American Memory link]
to locate this image, use search terms: Dodge, army, trucks

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October 28, 2008

From Racial Segregation to the Oval Office (1 of 3)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms STREETCAR, WATER and COOLERA streetcar terminal in Oklahoma, 1939. (Russell Lee)

The United States appears poised to elect its first president of African-American descent. To appreciate the magnitude of this event, let's time-travel back to the 1930s and '40s, courtesy of photos from the American Memory collection.

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms RESTAURANT, SIGN and OHIOA 1938 restaurant window in Ohio. (Ben Shahn)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms CHILDREN, CONCRETE and WALL This half-mile long concrete wall was erected in Detroit, Michigan in 1941. Photographer John Vachon explains its purpose was "to separate the Negro section from a white housing development going up on the other side."

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search temrs FLAG, SIGN and DETROIT Feb. 1942 in Detroit. (Arthur S. Siegel)

to locate this image on the American Memory website, use search terms MILK, COMPANY and SIGN1941 Chicago. (John Vachon)

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[American Memory link]

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October 20, 2008

Seed Ladies

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms WOMEN, TYPICAL and DISPLAY
I love this shot, of women employed by the W. Atlee Burpee Company, purveyors of seeds and bulbs. More than a hundred photos of the company's internal Philadelphia operations were taken in April 1943.

Photographer Arthur S. Siegel's caption for this image reads: "Women with a typical display rack of Burpee seeds."

Other photos in the series show women such as these eating lunch, testing seeds, filling orders, and keeping accounts. One photo illustrates the point that, "Due to the war, the janitor is a girl..."

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