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Sunday, November 24, 2013

FAMILY THANKSGIVING 1940


Crouch farm house with relative's cars 
during Thanksgiving day.
courtesy: Library of Congress

It's amazing to think about what our parents and grandparents did to prepare for a Thanksgiving holiday. Jack Delano, a photographer from the depression era, recorded this set of photos in 1940 at the Crouch family farm in Connecticut. 

Thanksgiving hasn't hardly changed for many folks across our country. Today's technology has added its face but the tradition to gather with friends and family, eat lots of turkey, stuffing, pie, and more while enjoying each other's company is still pretty much the same. 




Crouch family enjoying their Thanksgiving feast.
courtesy: Library of Congress




Young one checking to see if the pudding is done.
courtesy: Library of Congress




Granddaughter placing the homemade pies.
courtesy: Library of Congress




Grandma basting the turkey.
courtesy: Library of Congress



Grandpa slicing the turkey.
courtesy: Library of Congress

Let's eat!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING ONE AND ALL!



more about depression photographers






30 comments:

  1. Yes, in some ways not much has changed. On the other hand, I love seeing that oven! Wow! Happy Thanksgiving, Barbara!

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    1. Melissa -- I agree, that oven was a beauty! Looks like the owner had it all shined up for the big day. Enjoy your holiday -- barbara

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  2. Thanks for showing the work of a photographer whose work is not seen often enough - not by me anyway! Despite all the i-phones and i-pads is anyone taking photos like this today?

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    1. John -- A book is available through Amazon of Jack Delano's photographs. They are beautifully printed -- published by the Library of Congress. I find it a nice overview of his work. Here is the link:
      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.gilesltd.com/images/book-images/FOV_Delano-Cover-LR.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.gilesltd.com/books/catalogue/photography/fields-of-vision-the-photographs-of-jack-delano/&h=500&w=500&sz=59&tbnid=cZ5fODCN2RzGNM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=92&zoom=1&usg=__MnvEAHuPtykWUmASU3RbjBnVel4=&docid=zMtVYnd2zQ0i0M&sa=X&ei=hfuSUrXsEaSujAKJ0oGoBw&ved=0CNQBEP4dMAw

      thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  3. Once I had own family, Thanksgivings became important though not a part of my growing-up life. It is the one holiday we celebrate--in an eating way. Like so many others,these iconic images of how we are expected to gather, what we eat have shaped my own style. Hope settling-in is working well for you.

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    1. naomi -- settling in is going along fine -- thanks. These photos display a farm family, I assume. Farm families usually were able to provide more bountiful Thanksgiving meals during the period. I know that not everyone has the same remembrance of Thanksgiving. It was a difficult time for many with the depression years still lingering. Perhaps, today, these iconic families have changed? Maybe they visit a restaurant to eat a meal and call it a day. Maybe in 1940 going to a restaurant would be heresy? thanks -- barbara

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  4. What a nostalgic trip. Glad to see they had lots of food. I worry for many Americans this Thanksgiving.

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    1. Tabor -- I too worry about the folks that cannot even begin to have such delicious foodstuffs on Thanksgiving. We seem to have two scales of food justice -- the haves and the have-nots. My photos were put on to mainly reflect Jack Delano's documentation of one family's Thanksgiving. Surely this was not the case with all families as it was a tough time. thanks -- barbara


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  5. It's wonderful to see these photos. I think of all the phones taking photos and wonder if anyone has a sense of documentation today. Even with the digital cameras and the possibily of making photo books easily digitally, does anyone have something like this sense of place and time? I hope so and I think maybe ... but our relationship to photography seems very different today.

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    1. June -- Yes, what are we going to do with all the photos we are taking? I'm sure you know that such photos , as in this post, were part of the government's Farm Security program during the depression. The FSA hired such photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks etc to document the standard of living created by the depression. These photographers also suffered monetarily with the depression.

      I think your question is a good one -- who will document today's sense of place and time.

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  6. I like all these pictures, Grandpa smiling as he carves is really special.1940s seems all so far away yet so so familiar.

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    1. claggle -- I do hope that each of us have had an opportunity to simulate this kind of Thanksgiving if they so choose. For many there are fond memories of this day. It does seem that the media has taken over the day with football. Yikes I think I might have just offended football fans! -- barbara

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  7. OTOH, not everyone had autos and a house with an oven like that in 1940. My family on both my mother and father's side was struggling to survive the lingering effects of the Depression.

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    1. Florence -- I hear you. My family told me so many stories about what people had to go through to survive the depression. My great-grandmother was a saint during this time -- she lost her husband at the beginning of the depression and she began a life of survival for herself and her six kids, that should be in books for kids to know that one can survive many downs in their life. I was fortunate to have known her.-- barbara

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  8. Book for older children: Albert Marrin, "Years of Dust: the story of the dust bowl." Photos from the era, excellent honest text. Produced by National Endowment Humanities. "Five Photo-Textual Documentaries from the Great Depression" is John Rogers Puckett's critical study--deep and fascinating.

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    1. naomi -- I looked up your recommendations on Amazon. I put them in my cart for further considerations to buy. Especially thought "Years of Dust" would be good for some of my grandchildren ( and maybe me). I think I will put a reserve on at the library for the John Rogers Puckett's book. Thanks for these recommendations -- barbara

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  9. That old frame house is like the one I spent my first seven years in, in an upstairs flat in Berkeley. It's long gone now, replaced first by volleyball courts and then by student dorms.
    This was a fairly well off family, I judge. People just did not have much stuff in those days.

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    1. Hattie -- That old frame house in the photo looks cold with all that snow around it. Bet your house in Berkeley didn't see snow in CA. Thanks -- Happy Thanksgiving -- barbara

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  10. Well we won't have a gathering quite that big but the spirit will be the same!

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  11. troutbirder -- No matter the size enjoy the holiday. I'm not even coming close to that size this year. But I will remember the family gatherings at Thanksgiving when I was young and the table was filled with relatives sitting around it. Happy Thanksgiving -- barbara

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  12. We don't cerebrate Thanksgiving here, of course, but seeing these old photos really brought it home to me how important photography has been in recording the history of everyday life.

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    1. RuneE -- I feel like you -- photography does play a large part in recording our "sense of place." I have noticed that many photographers online are documenting the personal character of local culture. You post wonderful photos of local life. thanks -- barbara

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  13. I so enjoyed these photos, they are works fo art for sure. I think you're right, a nice tradition continues...Although I can tell you it's interesting for families who are in America but not from America...Grandma & grandpa don't look that old anymore...Hmm....
    I like this holiday, except the part in some families where folks watch football after the meal...I just don't get that...

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    1. Rita -- I'm with you on Thanksgiving football. I know some families that plan their Thanksgiving dinner so that everyone eats during half time. It seems that the Thanksgiving ritual, in some families, has taken a backseat to national football games.

      Grandpa and Grandma have changed their looks. My post's photos illustrate the look during the depression. Handmade and hand-me-downs reigned.

      -- barbara

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  14. Yes. it is -- hadn't thought about Norman but it does capture his values. thanks -- barbara

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  15. Great pictures! Grandma looks like my grandmother.

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    1. Vicki -- yes, grandma style in 1940. My great-grandmother looked like this 40s grandma from her shoes right up to her hair style. She was a great lady. -- barbara

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  16. This was my great-grandparents' family. My mother is the 11 year-old in the pictures. I am always excited to see these pictures posted. BTW the old house is still there having been restored in the 70's. Thanks for the post! Heather Flack, Mentor OH

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    1. Heather -- How nice that you wrote to introduce yourself. Your mother was a lovely child. Interesting to know her age in the photo. Great the house has been restored and is still in use. I imagine you have some great memories and photos of this large family. Now you live in Ohio far from where these photos were taken.Thank you for sending this information -- it makes these photos come to life. -- barbara

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