The Sunday porch: conversation

1941 porch in Mobile, Alabama, by C.W. Cushman“Porch of old house at Monroe St., Mobile[, Alabama],” taken November 4, 1941, by Charles W. Cushman.*

The atmosphere of this porch is still and quiet, but I think there’s something urgent about the conversation.  The expression of the young woman in pink is serious; the woman across from her has stopped on her way (in or to her own house?) from the grocery store.  They all listen intently to the older woman in light blue.

Cushman was an amateur photographer who began documenting his travels in 1938, using expensive, (then) little-used Kodachrome film.  He continued taking color pictures for 32 years, ultimately bequeathing 14,500 slides to his alma mater, Indiana University.

NPR has an interesting audio/slide show on Cushman and his work here, and here is a series of color photos of New York City that he took in the early 1940s.

*Used with the permission of  the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection, Indiana University Archives.  I originally posted this image in November 2012.

A porch in 1941 Mobile and Sunday miscellany

I love this quiet photo: “Porch of old house at Monroe St., Mobile[, Alabama],” taken November 4, 1941, by Charles W. Cushman.

Used with the permission of  the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection of the Indiana University Archives.  Please do not “pin” or re-blog without contacting them here.


This post on Gardenista is about houses painted black, but I like the way all of them are incorporated into their natural landscapes.  

And GardenHistoryGirl has an interesting post on what we mean when we talk about ‘natural’ and  “beautiful nature.”

From her post, I learned that you can read the entire book The Wild Garden by William Robinson online  here at Google Books.

Please take a look at View from Federal Twist’s fall photos of the Federal Twist garden — just gorgeous.

Jean’s Garden explains here why your favorite plant may have had one name last year and has another today.

Kigali has gone into billboards in a big way in the last few years.  I wonder if it may eventually be building these too (see here too).

Zoe Tilley Poster of Pearled Earth is now selling her beautiful illustrations at her new Etsy shop here.

Francophiles can catch up on gardening news from France at Our Grumpy Gardener, a blog of French News Online.  If you’ve already starting to think about Christmas, the blog Réparons & Re-Parons Noël has good ideas for handmade decorations.

If you would like to see more of the photographs of Charles W. Cushman, click here for a series of images of New York City in the early 1940s.

Vintage landscape: the benches

“Roominghouse district, Washington,” a Kodachrome slide by Charles W. Cushman, mid-September 1940.*

In the two years leading up to the U.S. entering World War II, the population of Washington, D.C., went from 621,000 to over 1,000,000, according to journalist David Brinkley.

Most of the new arrivals were women, many of whom were hired “before they had even found a place to leave their bags.”  Thousands of townhouses were turned into roominghouses and several women shared each room.  (According to one of them, Enid Bubley,  it was “social suicide” to violate the morning schedule of eight minutes each in the bathroom.)

By 1941, Malcolm Cowley described the city this way:  “Washington in wartime is a combination of Moscow (for overcrowding), Paris (for its trees), Wichita (for its way of thinking), Nome (in the gold-rush days) and Hell (for its livability).”

So the two or three benches placed in each little yard above are significant. They were undoubtedly places of real reprieve from the crowded conditions inside the houses and the chaos of the city.

These gardens still have their wrought iron fences.  During the war, the metal was much needed, and many D.C. residents gave up their black railings for wooden pickets.

The photographer, Charles Cushman, was a talented amateur who traveled across the U.S. and other countries and took more than 14,500 Kodachrome slides from 1938 to 1969.  He bequeathed his images to Indiana University, his alma mater.

*Used with the permission of  the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection of the Indiana University Archives.  Please do not “pin” or re-blog without contacting them here.