Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Russell Lee: Streetcar Terminal, Oklahoma City, 1939


.

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

People waiting for streetcars to arrive at terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Dispatcher, streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Man drinking malted milk at stand in streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8a26000/8a26700/8a26758v.jpg

Mother and daughter waiting for streetcar in terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Mother with children trying to locate streetcar they want to catch, in terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

People waiting for streetcars at terminal in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Timetable of the interurban terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Tobacco and magazine stand at streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8a26000/8a26700/8a26761v.jpg
Negro drinking at "Colored" water cooler in streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Negro waiting behind barricade at streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Negroes waiting at streetcar terminal for cars, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Oiler at locker, streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Streetcar operators talking in terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Station master, streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Activity around master's shack, streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: photo by Russell Lee, July 1939


Photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

8 comments:

ACravan said...

The contrast between these and the other set reminds me of something Caroline's mother said (my parents also) to the effect that she really wasn't affected by and didn't notice the Depression. In her case, she was born into fortunate circumstances and was able after graduating college in 1935 to find good work locally as a teacher. My own parents were younger than she, but each of them had parents who were quite gainfully employed; my mother's father was a building contractor who became very successful building Depression-era public works projects, including prisons and hospitals. (Later in life, when he was building apartment houses, people regularly remarked how similar they looked to his prisons.) Everyone in these pictures looks opposite in affect and circumstances to the Mays Avenue Camp photos, including the black people pictured. Possibly occupying a lower rung of the economic ladder meant that their circumstances weren't much changed. I must say that prior to the current period, when Caroline and I were both younger and both working, recessions were basically invisible to us. (They weren't to my father because he ran businesses by then.) Now I find myself in painful conflict with any number of people I know and am supposed to like because of our different outlook about this. And I won't get started on the high-paid media punditocracy; the phrase "limousine liberals" lives acutely for me and loomed especially large over the holidays. Seeing the "whites/colored" division is always shocking, of course. The only time I ever experienced it in "real life" was in the early 1960s on a family road trip from New York to Florida. Then I was overcome both by the fact of this and that something I had been taught in school had real world applicability. Up until then, things seemed so theoretical. Curtis

TC said...

Curtis,

Russell Lee's beautiful ability to show, rather than to manipulate, reality, gives his local surveys a unique quality of... what's the word, "trustability"?

His work in the high prairie, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, is all tremendous to my eye.

Here in Oklahoma City, the original "land boom" town (the great Land Rush of 1889 lies buried beneath these scenes), Lee was surveying two widely disparate social classes. The not at all affluent yet at least semi-"respectable" middle and lower-middle class, white and black; and then, on the other side of the great abyss, the ragged marginal collective of the dispossessed, technically vagrants, with no social class standing whatsoever.

Of course, a million sociological surveys could not tell us as much about these two disparate groups as Lee's photos.

curtisroberts said...

I think "trustability" is the word. I love seeing that malted milk photo with the big silver drinking vessel. Those days are gone.

Julia said...

"Of course, a million sociological surveys could not tell us as much about these two disparate groups as Lee's photos."

Nor tell us as much as your conversation here.

How are you today, Tom?

Ed Baker said...

not a "drinking vessel"
it is what the shake was mixed in

then from it the thick shake was
poured into a glass

ice cream
REAL milk
chocolate

or
strawberry

syrup


(I when I was a soda jerk at my cousin's
Drug Store

corner of 12 th & H Streets N.E.

I used to like to add a row egg.

the 2-cewnts plains
were also "big"

Ed Baker said...

here is one:

http://milkshakemixer.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/hamiltonmikshakemaker.jpg

we had two...
a green one and a red one
HECK

if I could just find some REAL milk

I could go for one now.

The Hot Shoppes made the thickest shake

Malteds..

A Mighty Mo, Onion rings w grave, a strawberry shake AND
a Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake

then... park around the corner with Anita!

hardPressed poetry said...

Having recently re-read Rezi's novel "The Manner Music", I'm seeing all these Depression photos with new eyes, Tom. Thanks for posting them.

TC said...

Curtis, Julia, Billy, Ed, many thanks. Difficult times here these past weeks, but the echoing voices of friends fill up a silver drinking vessel that is almost as restorative to the parched spirit as a tall cool malted milk might have been to the material soul, once upon a time, back in prehistory. (One almost remembers...)