Memories    [back to TripodGirl.com]

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 13, 2009

Telecommunication

A telephone, with a telephone book. Iowa, 1940.

Oh, for the good old days - in which one bent over, speaking into the microphone as best one could, while holding the other part to one's ear.

Awesome how much things have changed during the past 69 years.

Photo by John Vachon.

--

Labels: , ,

January 12, 2009

Come and Gone

A telephone operator in 1941 Maryland. Yes, Virginia, a live human needed to physically connect your call, moving those cables from one place to another.

Photo by John Vachon.

--

Labels: , ,

January 1, 2009

Newly Born

locate this image on the American Memory website by using search terms FIVE, MINUTE and LAMB A newborn lamb, standing on his own four legs for the first time.

Montana, 1942. Photo by John Vachon.
--
to locate this image, use search terms: five, minute, lamb

Labels: , , , ,

December 4, 2008

Frogs

locate this image on the American Memory website by using search terms SIGN, BOONSBORO and MARYLAND An unusual distinction.

Photo taken by John Vachon near Boonsboro, Maryland - in 1939.

--
to locate this image, use search terms: sign, Boonsboro, Maryland

Labels: , ,

November 20, 2008

Long Life Butter

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms BUTTER LAND LAKES Land O'Lakes butter in 1941. Sixty-seven years later, this product's packaging has changed little.

www.landolakes.com Photo by John Vachon at a butter packing plant in Chicago.
--
to locate this image, use search terms: butter, land, lakes

Labels:

November 19, 2008

Neighbors

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms BACK FENCE COPPER Chatting over the back fence in Laurium, Michigan.

Photo taken by John Vachon in 1941.

--
to locate this image, use search terms: back, fence, copper

Labels:

October 30, 2008

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

[see Part 1 here] [see Part 2 here]

Intelligence. Talent. Hard work. Generations of African-Americans have helped make the US the nation it is today.

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms CAROLINA YARD JOCKEY A truck driver, photographed in North Carolina in 1943. (John Vachon)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms SHIPYARD DAUGHTER A shipyard worker with his daughter in 1942 Virginia. (Pat Terry)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms HOWARD PERRY Howard P. Parry, the first African-American to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. (Roger Smith)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms JANE BOLIN Jane Bolin, the first African-American female judge.

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms RICHARD WRIGHT Richard Wright, poet, photographed in his study in 1943. (Gordon Parks)

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms BOXING REFEREE
(photo by Roger Smith)

During World War II, these men were employed at a coast guard training center. They all taught boxing and, presumably, took turns being referee.

If this is the moment in which an African-American first assumes the presidency of the United States, may his judgment be sound and his decisions fair.

--

Labels: , , , , , ,

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)

--
[American Memory link]

Labels: , , , ,

October 27, 2008

Fettered Fox

to locate this image on the American Memory website use search terms FOX and AUTOMOBILENot something one sees every day. As the photo caption explains, this is a "Fox chained to [an] automobile."

Taken in Moorehead, Minnesota in Oct. 1940. The apparent water dish adds complexity to the scene.

(photographer: John Vachon)

Labels: ,