African Americans at table in Clarksdale, 1939, by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 132 (MDAH Collection)

African Americans at table in Clarksdale, 1939, by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 132 (MDAH Collection)

The Farm Security Administration collection (PI/1986.0026) is unique in that it documents the everyday life of Mississippians, both black and white, during the Depression era. The photographs capture a microcosm of daily activities, including people at work and leisure. The Library of Congress holds the original negatives, but MDAH has copies of images pertaining to Mississippi.

Patti Carr Black assembled many of these photographs for her book, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi: The Thirties. She wrote, “These images, along with Eudora Welty’s One Time, One Place, help define for us the meaning of the Depression in Mississippi. They also may help others understand an observation that Walker Evans [an FSA photographer] made shortly before his death: ‘I can understand why Southerners are haunted by their own landscape and in love with it.’”1

Scene in Natchez, Mississippi, by Ben Shahn. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 77 (MDAH Collection)

Scene in Natchez, Mississippi, by Ben Shahn. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 77 (MDAH Collection)

This description from the Library of Congress gives a brief history of the collection:

The photographs of the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944…The project initially documented cash loans made to individual farmers by the Resettlement Administration and the construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.2

"Jitterbugging in a juke joint on a Saturday afternoon," by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 159 (MDAH Collection)

"Jitterbugging in a juke joint on a Saturday afternoon," by Marion Post Wolcott. Call Number: PI/1986.0026, item 159 (MDAH Collection)3

View more of the FSA photographs at the “American Memory” page on the Library of Congress website.


1 Patti Carr Black, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi: The Thirties (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1982), 7.

2 Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, “Background and Scope of Collection,” http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/fsa/background.html (accessed February 2, 2012).

3 Photograph caption from Black, Documentary Portrait of Mississippi, 83.

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Haining Photograph Album Online

On August 30, 2011, in Digital Archives, Photographs, by Amanda
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Page 17 of the Haining (J. L.) Photograph Album. Call Number: PI/1995.0007 (MDAH Collection)

Page 17 of the Haining (J. L.) Photograph Album. Call Number: PI/1995.0007 (MDAH Collection)

The Haining (J. L.) Photograph Album (PI/1995.0007) is a handmade album consisting of 129 black and white photographs of levee construction, boats, fields, and unidentified people in the Greenville, Mississippi, area ca. 1935-1947. Click the link above to read more about it and view the album.


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We will be exploring Mississippi’s rich aviation history in this series. From the early flight photographs shown here to the moon landing and beyond, MDAH collections document this exciting part of our past.

"First plane down Mississippi River. Janas, pilot, killed in Russia in 1917, stands in front of biwing airplane. Harris Hurlbert in sport jacket also in picture." Friars Point, Miss. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

"First plane down Mississippi River. Janas, pilot, killed in Russia in 1917, stands in front of biwing airplane. Harris Hurlbert in sport jacket also in picture." Friars Point, Miss. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

These black and white photographs from the Painter (Milton McFarland, Sr.) Collection depict an early airplane at Friars Point, a town on the Mississippi River in Coahoma County. The plane is identified by Painter as a Benoist Type XII in another photograph. This model was built around 1912 by Thomas Benoist, who had worked in the automotive industry before starting a successful flight school and airplane manufacturing company in 1911.

Benoist’s exhibition pilot was named Antony Jannus–it seems that he is pictured above and Painter apparently mispelled his name in the caption as “Janas.” At the time these photographs were taken, he may have been on the record setting 1912 over-water flight along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from Omaha, Nebraska to New Orleans.

"Flying Machine" in Friars Point, Mississippi. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

"Flying Machine" in Friars Point, Mississippi. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

This plane was the “floatplane” version of the Benoist XII. It was designed to take off from and land on water.

View of airplane in river and spectators standing on levee in Friars Point, Mississippi. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

View of airplane in river and spectators standing on levee in Friars Point, Mississippi. Painter Collection. Call Number: PI/1988.0006 (MDAH)

This scene may have been one of the forty-two exhibitions that Jannus performed on the flight to New Orleans. The exhibitions helped introduced the public to flying and also publicized the Benoist plane.

See more photographs of the Benoist XII plane at Friars Point in the Painter Collection exhibit in the Digital Archives.

Source:

Frederick W. Roos, “The Brief, Bright Aviation Career of St. Louis’s Tom Benoist,” American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., 2005. http://www.airandspacemuseum.org/BenoistPaper.htm (accessed June 22, 2011).

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