The Sunday porch: Paterson, New Jersey

“Street of homes in the inner city of Paterson, New Jersey,” June 1974, by Danny Lyon for DOCUMERICA, via The U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr (both photos).

Lyon‘s original caption continues: “The inner city today is an absolute contradiction to the Main Stream America of gas stations, expressways, shopping centers and tract homes. It is populated by Blacks, Latins and the white poor. Most of all, the inner city environment is human beings, as beautiful and threatened as the 19th century buildings.”

DOCUMERICA was an 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.

You can see more of Lyon’s photos for DOCUMERICA here.

Coffee County, Alabama

A repeat post from January 2014. . .
Drigger home, 1941 Coffee Co., Alabama, via Library of Congress“James F. Drigger’s farmhouse. Coffee County, Alabama,” August 1941, by John Collier, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The large plants in front of the vines and along the walk are Ricinus communis  or castor beans.

They and the flowers make a nice approach to the lined-up open front and back doors.

John Collier was working for the Farm Security Administration when he took this photo. The Drigger family was receiving assistance to raise chickens under the “Food for Defense” program.

The Sunday porch: Houston, Texas

Mexican-American home in Houston, Texas, April 1973, by Danny Lyon for the DOCUMERICA project, via The U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr (all three photos here).

Lyon made a series of 21 black and white photographs in East Texas in 1973. “They document the environments remaining from the 19th century in terms of architecture, commerce and lifestyles,” according to their original captions. “The pictures also compare the contemporary city showing displacement of the unique by the ordinary and noting current urban problems.”

Above: houses in the Fifth Ward, Houston. Click on the images to enlarge them.

DOCUMERICA was an 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.

Poppies, Sweden


A young woman and two little girls in front of a row of double poppies, Gagnef, Sweden, August 1910, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (both photos).

Another woman and her two daughters in Gagnef. What are those pink flowers next to them?

The autochromes above are two of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 436 and A 425) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Natchez, Mississippi

Myrtle Bank terrace, Natchez, Mississippi, ca. 1900, from the Stewart Photograph Collection,* via Mississippi Department of Archives and History Commons on flickr (both photos).

The two houses shown here are about two blocks from each other, both on N. Pearl Street.

Major Benbrook residence, corner with B Street, ca. 1895, also from the Stewart Collection.

The neighborhood evidently had good water pressure. Both houses still stand.

In ancient Greece, the first hoses (for fire fighting) were made from ox intestines. In the late 17th century, Jan van der Heiden and his son sewed leather into long tubes for Amsterdam’s fire department. Then, in 1821 Boston, James Boyd invented a rubber-lined, cotton-webbed hose. By the 1870s, the first rubber and cotton fiber hoses for gardeners appeared on the market.

In 1895, a garden hose was the subject of what is believed to be the first comedy film, L’Arroseur Arroséby Louis Lumière. You can see it here.


*By brothers Robert Livingston Stewart and William Percy Stewart of Natchez, Mississippi, from ca. 1890 to ca. 1905.