The signs

Signs along the highway, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, June 1943, by John Vachon, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Another view of this here.

E. Riche/ Read the history of my life I am 65 year old born 1877 June 30th I don’t steal don’t murder don’t lie and never was arrested in my live Sherif Dauterive* gave a handcuff to handcuff me for telling the truth do you think it would be an honor to handcuff me the boat the life saver, is for proof that it crossed Judge Perez†, his two children, his wife, and his brother but Mr. Dauthrievl asked could I prove it, I said yes, and he asked who crossed him. I said a boy he also asked did he pay him I said yes, he gave him $100 [or $1.00] and looked for change back if I am wrong arrest me I am ready for trial I want help from the public eyes on, hands off, keep out, and be happy life saver crosse Peres family over Miss River if you arrest me for telling the truth you should be paralyzed blind or crazy God is my judge

History of depression and starvation these signs were taken up by the grand jury April 6, 1936 for investigation has investigation been made[?] if nothing can be found wrong please return these signs

On the side: Caernarvon levee [?} on April 29 [? . . .] horse [or house] claim ditch claim tree [?] claim. . . spring crop claim summer crop claim [? . . ] how can a poor man have a square deal [? . . .} have a square deal to replace my [?] in the same condition [? . . . .] (emphasis mine)

The drawback of tyme claim of 200 of false claim was made by county agent c.c. Dethloft [or Dethlofi] he was adv[i]sed $1299 [or 1219] tree claim I was offered $275 is this a square deal Mr Perez worked fifty fifty on summer claim every farmer summer claim was 229 [or 289] Mr Perez got 110 and each farmer got $110 [ or 410] paid ten years taxed [?. . .] 1927 where did my mo[?. . .] collected penny on


*Louis Dauterive was sheriff of Plaquemines Parish from 1931 to 1943.

†Parish political boss and segregationist Judge Leander Perez. Here’s a news story about him allegedly strong-arming another family over land in the 1930s. E. Riche’s complaints may go back to the removal of families in the 1920s to built a spillway to protect New Orleans.

Black River Falls, Wisconsin

“Individual beds at nursery. Black River Falls project, Wisconsin,” June 1937, by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In the early summer of 1937, Lee took a number of photos around the community of Black River Falls. Most were related to a land use project of the U.S. Resettlement Administration, for which he was a photographer.

The principal employment in Black River Falls, since its founding in 1839, was logging and sawmills. However, many of the people Lee photographed there were farming cut-over areas.

Today, the town is probably best known as the subject of the 1973 book (and 1999 filmWisconsin Death Trip. 

Quai d’Auteuil, Paris

Jardins potagers, quai d'Auteuil (actuel quai Louis-Blériot), Paris (XVIe arr.), France, 30 mai 1928, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Auguste Léon, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 54 766The little vegetable gardens near pont Mirabeau, behind quai d’Auteuil (now quai Louis-Blériot), Paris,  on May 30, 1928, by Auguste Léon, via Collection Archives of the Planet – Albert Kahn Museum/Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

The Auteuil wharf or quai, next to the Seine River, was situated at the top of the sandy-looking embankment on the right side above (also see here, third photo).  Then there was a drop down to the gardens, and, on the left, Avenue de Versailles was at the top of the wall (I think). In the distance, you can see the Eiffel Tower and before it, a little to the right, the small Paris replica of the Statue of Liberty at the southwest end of the Île aux Cygnes.

There’s another view here (the 15th photo down). The area was filled in and covered by the highway Voie George Pompidou and modern apartment buildings in the 1960s.

This lovely autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived from 1909 to 1931 by French banker and pacifist Albert Kahn. He sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 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. The above photo (A 54766) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Vintage landscape: food cellar

Food storage, 1940, Wabash Farms, Library of Congress“Food storage cellar, Deshee Unit, Wabash Farms [Cooperative], Indiana,” May 1940, by John Vachon, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I found the preserves in the cellar. . . .

The black raspberries were still
delicious, each cluster
burning like years in the brain.

— Michael Waters, from “Preserves