The Sunday porch: Halloween

Halloween back porch, HABS, Library of Congress
Front porch of a farmhouse ready for Halloween, near Elderon, Wisconsin, 1994, by John N. Vogel for an Historic American Building Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The HABS noted the house’s “prominent front porch with Tuscan columns and hipped roof” and called it “a good example of the Gabled Ell form” of Wisconsin vernacular architecture. There are wider views here.

The Sunday porch: Lincoln, Vermont

The Sunday porch/enclos*ure: Lincoln VT, 1940, by L. Rosskam, via Library of Congress“Front porch. Lincoln, Vermont,” July 1940, by Louise Rosskam, via the FSA/OWI Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The porch as a farm woman’s summertime mission control room. . .

Her broom (and 4H posters) are on the wall, and more cleaning and gardening tools are behind the chair.  She has stacks of magazines (and TIME in hand).  Her potted plants are doing well.  Above them are fishing poles and a kite.

The cat dozes above the steps — I think the scrub board behind the broken screen is there to keep him out of the house.

The wash tub is setting on a shelf built across the angle where the two sides of the porch meet.  This puzzled me until I realized that it must be there to catch rainwater from the roof.

The photographer, Louise Rosskam (1910-2003), was “one of the elusive pioneers of what has been called the golden age of documentary photography,” according to the Library of Congress.

Like many of her photos, this image was attributed for many years to her husband Edwin, who was also a photographer.  At the time it was taken — as part of a series on rural Vermont — he was working as an editor for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) of the U.S. government.

Her first professional photography work had been in the mid 1930s for the Philadelphia Record.  The paper would only actually hire Edwin, so he recouped her wages by including them on his expense vouchers under “gas and oil.”

The couple then produced documentary photo books on San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (but only Edwin’s name appeared on the covers).  After 1939, when Edwin went to work for the FSA, Louise began to take freelance photographs.  In the 40s, they both worked for Standard Oil Company.

Near the end of her life, Louise began to write to institutions like the Library of Congress correcting the credit given to Edwin for her own photos.  There’s an interesting interview with her from 2000 here.

The Sunday porch: Mount Morne

Reed-Morrison Hse, Mt. Mourne, in North Carolina, 1938, via Library of Congress.Reed [or Reid] Morrison House, Mount Mourne, North Carolina, 1938, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Carnegie Survey of the South Collection, Library of Congress.

Click on the photo to enlarge it and check out the pretty little sconces on each side of the front door.

The house exists today as a private residence — in seemingly excellent condition, but, alas, the sconces and vines are gone.