Oklahoma December 28, 2015
This Is What Oklahoma Looked Like In 1939. Wow.
It’s hard to imagine what life was like in Oklahoma in 1939. We know times were tough and as the Great Depression was ending, families were still struggling for work, food and everyday necessities. The city life was better for some, but most everyone struggled in some form. Russell Lee, a photographer during this era, captured over 900 photos of Oklahoma in 1939. Here is a portion of his 1939 collection that can be found at the Library of Congress:
Note: The original captions of each photo are included.
1. "Daughter of tenant farmer hanging up clothes near Warner, Oklahoma."
2. "Streetcars at terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
3. "Houses. Muskogee, Oklahoma."
4. "Milk cans tied on back of farm automobile, Muskogee, Oklahoma."
5. "Home of white agricultural day laborers north of Sallisaw, Sequoyah County, Oklahoma."
6. "Mules with guards around their muzzles to keep them from eating while working, near Vian, Oklahoma."
7. "Main street of Muskogee, Oklahoma with migrants' car passing down the middle of it."
8. "Picking string beans in field near Muskogee, Oklahoma."
9. "Old schoolhouse in Akins, Oklahoma. This town was formerly a cotton ginning center as well as trading center for the surrounding farm community. There is no ginning done there now and it has assumed the status of a ghost town."
10. "Tobacco dealer waiting on motorman at streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
11. "Store window in farmer's marketing section of Muskogee, Oklahoma."
12. "White migrant family saying grace before noonday meal by the side of the road east of Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma."
13. "Daughter and son of agricultural day laborer living near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. The furnishings of this shack were meager and broken and filthy."
14. "Farmer's wagon loaded with supplies leaving crossroads store in McIntosh County, Oklahoma."
15. "Old grocery store serving an agricultural community in the Arkansas River bottoms near Vian, Oklahoma."
16. "Postman with equipment waiting to board. Streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
17. "Head of migrant family buying loaf of bread in grocery store of small town near Henryetta, Oklahoma."
18. "A well, water supply for about a dozen families at Mays Avenue camp. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
19. "Cafes on main street of Saint Louis, Oklahoma. This is a onetime oil boomtown."
20. "Wives of striking members of oil workers union preparing lunch for picketers. Seminole, Oklahoma."
21. "Capitol of Oklahoma with surrounding derricks. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
If you lived in Oklahoma during this period, please share with us what town you lived in and what life was like. Please comment in the section below.