Posts Tagged ‘antique photo’

A Sea Of Hats: Farm Foreclosure Sale

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

This image, one of two captioned “At Uncle Nick’s Auction,” shows a common sight around the rural USA during the 1930s. No, not just a crowd of fedoras and paperboy hats (although those were quite common, especially at the employment office or the bread lines). Farm foreclosures were driven by the Great Depression, a sluggish economy, a prewar slump due to foreign instability, and the ongoing change from a raw-materials economy to a manufacturing economy. This one appears to have been taken in 1938, after the “heyday” of foreclosures in the early 1930s. Early on, farmers protested and caused ‘penny auctions’ — friends and neighbors ran off genuine bidders, and never bid more than a penny for any lot. By the late 1930s the worst of it was over, some economic reforms were starting to help, and this auction was probably handled better than frantic bank-recoveries earlier in the decade.

Also: farmer’s diary * iowa depression * nebraska foreclosures * remembering farm life

More Cranky Kids

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I’m not sure how these children relate to the grumps in this photo from last week, But they seem to share a venue and photographer. It’s the same (or very similar) venue, a folded sheet of some sort hung as a backdrop, with a dirt floor. The kids’ footing is improved by adding a reed mat on the ground for this photo, but it didn’t improve the children’s attitudes. Little Gunther looks like he’s about to cry, and the photographer is lucky Marta can’t actually start fires with her mind even though she’s trying really, really hard.

The style of dress is of a similar period as the previous photo, but a bit more formal: all white may signify some religious event is taking place (baptism, first communion, etc.), or it could be that their church-clothes are the nicest outfits they have to put on for a photographer.

1930s Nicknames

Saturday, January 19th, 2008


High school — a time of nicknames and rivalries no matter when you were born. This photo, from a photo-album of the late 1930s, has some evidence on the front. That girl in the front row in white — right in the middle — has her eyes blacked-out with pencil (you can see it in the large version). On the back were, presumably, well-wishes from student’s friends, names written in the hand of the signer. Underneath the photo, written on the page in the photo album, are a clearer picture of the students identities: “Bruno”, “Giggling Gertie”, “Ossie” — and I think that’s just the girls.

Cranky, Cranky Kids

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008


Oh, my — I know kids hate to get dressed up, but the dress clothes of today pale in comparison to the kids of the early 1900s. That sailor suit on the right? It would cause a riot among modern kids. The photo appears to me to be from a travelling photographer; the ground is dirt and grass, the chair is simple (probably recruited from the nearest building), and the backdrop is simple. Despite the outdoors, the camera is of a vintage without a speedy shutter, resulting in some blurriness. It could, however, also be an attempt to emulate a more expensive photo studio by hanging a sheet over the washline and getting the kids dressed up to the tees. Either way, the kids weren’t happy about it.

see also: edwardian kids clothes * poor during Progressive era * progressivism and children

Three Gents in Snappy Hats

Monday, January 14th, 2008

What’s these guys’ stories? Sometime in the 1910s, maybe twenties, three lads got together for a group shot — and it must’ve been important that they be wearing hats. The style of hat is called a ‘newsboy’, ‘Gatsby’ hat, or driving cap, and was popular with the trendy kids of the early 20th century. The button-close breast pockets on the two gents on the right has a very military feel to it, and echoes the late 19th century. The lad on the left shops at a different tailor: sans vest, modern shirtcollar, his collar is lower, wider below the collar on the notched lapel, and is missing the breast pockets. Maybe he’s older, and doesn’t rely on Mom to do his clothes-shopping. Any which way, they’re a sharp looking group of guys.

Steampunk Joker

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008


The new Joker looks surprisingly like this artifact of the last century. This comedic entertainer certainly looks a bit past his prime — although, he could just be worn out from his show. The makeup is smeared and worn off, and if you look really close you’ll see a cigarette in his fingers. This was purchased from a travelling dealer here in Fargo, so I don’t know where the funnyman is from. The hobo is usually an American style, so I doubt he’s from abroad. Hopefully he stuck to clowning, and didn’t run afoul of any batmen.

Armour Stockyards, West Fargo ND, 1938

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

More of the Scenic Red River Valley of the North — about the same time period as yesterday’s photo, but from one of the tallest structures for quite some distance, the water tower at the Armour Processing Plant in West Fargo, North Dakota. This view is of the stockyards — each of those tiny dots in the distance is a hereford. See anything else between here and the horizon? I didn’t think so. Snow and nothingness as far as the eye can see. It’s the desert and the ocean all rolled into one, but it doesn’t have nearly as many poems written about it.

Farm Funeral, 1930s

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

I don’t know who passed away, but they were important to this family. Note the lack of scenery; this graveyard is probably at the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz, now a nearly-flat, low plain along the border of North Dakota and Minnesota. For centuries this area was grasslands, save some hardwood trees along the creeks and rivers. Farmers arrived in the 19th century, but erosion wasn’t a big concern until the Dust Bowl. The land was smooth and featureless; even today, you can still see where the curve of the horizon disappears, if you look in the right direction.

See also * funeral museum * funeral history * vintage hearses * UK hearses * prairie graveyard * greenwood cemetery

The Troublemakers

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

These are the Troublemakers – I only call them that because they look like those reckless teens that were only out to start trouble. You know, the ones that listened to jazz and watched boxing and didn’t give a horse’s patootie about what their fathers had to deal with, what with fighting the Kaiser overseas and living through flu epidemics. These reckless children of the 1920s couldn’t have been all that bad, though; these are from the set of Minnesota farm life negatives that I’ve been scanning over the past year. These kids grow up, move to exotic places like Revere, Minnesota, and have troublesome kids of their own.

4Hers Take Over Moorhead, Minnesota: 1961

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

In the summer of 1961, 4H-ers from all over Clay County, Minnesota, converged on Moorhead for a parade and a Round-Up. Not exactly the County Fair (that’s held in Barnesville), it was a chance for local farm kids to head into the big city and show off their skills. These photos were taken along Center Avenue, standing in front of what’s now a vacant car dealership just east of 9th Avenue. The photos focus on the floats — sadly, very backlit — but there’s a few photos from the Round-Up. I do not know the photographer; the focus given to the Oak Mount float would lead me to believe that the family is from Kragnes, a few miles up the road from Moorhead (although in the past 50 years Moorhead has encroached close to Kragnes’ borders; if I were a mall developer, that’s where I’d buy land). My dad was in 4H a few years later. At 6 years old he was still a bit young for this parade; these kids would be in their 60s today.