The Sunday porch: North Philadelphia

“Middle class row house [stoops] in Black neighborhood of North Philadelphia,” August 1973, by Dick Swanson (his caption) for DOCUMERICA via U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr.

Swanson took this picture for DOCUMERICA, a photography program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From 1972 to 1977, it hired over 100 photographers to “document subjects of environmental concern.” They created an archive of about 80,000 images. In addition to recording damage to the nation’s landscapes, the project captured “the era’s trends, fashions, problems, and achievements,” according to the Archives, which held an exhibit of the photos, “Searching for the Seventies,” in 2013.

London, U.K.

moncure-daniel-conway-c-1890-london-house-divided-project-dickinson-college
Moncure Daniel Conway and family at their London home, ca. 1890s, photographer unknown, via House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College.

Moncure Conway (third from the left) was a southern abolitionist, born in Virginia to a prominent slave-owning family and educated at Dickinson. After college, he first became a circuit-riding Methodist minister, but then a crisis of conscience led him to further study at Harvard and ministry in the Unitarian Church. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he undertook a mission to promote the anti-slavery, pro-Union cause to Great Britain. London became his home for most of the rest of his life as he led the nonconformist South Place Ethical Society.

From the mallets in the picture, members of the family seem to have just finished a croquet game. The maid is bringing out tea.

The Sunday porch: Orange, Texas

Orange, Texas, May 1943, by John Vachon, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Orange, located on the Sabine River, is a deep-water port to the Gulf of Mexico. (It is also the easternmost city in Texas.) A U.S. naval station opened there during WWII, providing a significant boost to the local economy.