Men in the Great Depression, 1937

Colorization By Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization By Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization By Manos Athanasiadis

A migrant packinghouse worker, Deerfield, Florida, 1937, (Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress)

A migrant packinghouse worker, Deerfield, Florida, 1937, (Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress)

A migrant worker from Oklahoma, Deerfield, Florida, 1937 (Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress)

A migrant worker from Oklahoma, Deerfield, Florida, 1937 (Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress)

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression which started in 1930 and lasted until the late 1930s.
Industries that suffered the most included construction, agriculture as dust-bowl conditions persisted in the agricultural heartland, shipping, mining, and logging as well as durable goods like automobiles and appliances that could be postponed. The Depression also resulted in the mass migration of people from badly hit areas in the Great Plains and the South to places such as California and the North, respectively.
The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion caused the phenomenon. With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the Plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers’ decisions to convert arid grassland to cultivated cropland. During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families, who were often known as “Okies” because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states. The term came to be known in the 1930s as the standard term for those who had lost everything and were struggling the most during the Great Depression. The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history within a short period of time. Between 1930 and 1940, approximately 3.5 million people moved out of the Plains states.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was created in the Department of Agriculture in 1937. It was a New Deal program designed to assist poor farmers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The photographs of the Farm Security Administration Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed by Roy E. Stryker. Roy Emerson Stryker (1893-1975) was an American economist, government official, and photographer. He employed such photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks, John Vachon, and Carl Mydans. Those photographers wanted the government to move and give a hand to the people as they were completely neglected and overlooked and thus they decided to start taking photographs in a style that we today call “documentary photography.” Under Stryker, the FSA adopted a goal of “introducing America to Americans.” His agenda focused on his faith in social engineering, the poor conditions among tenant cotton farmers, and the very poor conditions among migrant farm workers; above all he was committed to social reform through New Deal intervention in people’s lives.
Arthur Rothstein (1915 – 1985) was an American photographer. He is recognized as one of America’s premier photojournalists. During a career that spanned five decades, he provoked, entertained and informed the American people. His photographs ranged from a hometown baseball game to the drama of war, from struggling rural farmers to US Presidents.
Following his graduation from Columbia in 1934, Rothstein was invited to Washington DC by Roy Stryker, one of his professors at Columbia, to set up the darkroom for Stryker’s Photo Unit of the Historical Section of the Resettlement Administration (RA), which became the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1937. During the next five years, Rothstein shot some of the most significant photographs ever taken of rural and small-town America. He and the other FSA photographers were employed to publicize the living conditions of the rural poor in the United States.
In 1940 Rothstein became a staff photographer for Look magazine but left shortly thereafter to join the US Army as a photographer in the Signal Corps. In 1947 he rejoined Look as Director of Photography. He remained at Look until 1971 when the magazine ceased publication. Rothstein joined Parade magazine in 1972 as Director of Photography and remained there until his death.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Great Depression
Wikipedia: Dust Bowl
Wikipedia: Farm Security Administration
Wikipedia: Roy Stryker
Wikipedia: Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress: Arthur Rothstein
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WOMEN IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION

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Jim Londos, 1939

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Jim Londos, World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, 1939

Jim Londos, World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, 1939

Jim Londos, “The Golden Greek” (1897 – 1975) was born Christos Theofilou in Argos, Greece. He was a Greek professional wrestler and one of the most popular stars who performed on the professional wrestling circuit during the Great Depression.
At age thirteen he ran away from home and eventually ended up emigrating to the United States. Working whenever he could, Theofilou took several odd jobs including cabin boy, construction jobs and posing nude for figure drawing classes. Theofilou landed a job as a catcher in a carnival acrobatic act. It was during this period that he was exposed to professional wrestling and began training.
Londos’ first matches would be as “The Wrestling Plasterer” Christopher Theophelus, a gimmick that saw him coming to the ring in overalls. After a number of years he dropped this in favour of wrestling under the name Jim Londos and being a no nonsense wrestler. At 5’8 and 200 pounds, Londos was often smaller than his opponent. However, his low center of gravity, his formidable strength, and powerful legs made up for any lack of height. Jim Londos became known for his strong work ethic, as he worked as many dates as he could, often wrestling nearly every night of the week.
Capitalizing on his handsome features and strong physique, Londos developed a practice of matching himself against the ugliest opponents he could find. Then fans responded to the booking scheme exactly as “The Golden Greek” planned…by backing Londos even more. This “Beauty vs. the Beast” idea served Londos well, and helped build himself into the most popular wrestler/biggest draw on the East Coast throughout the 1930’s and early 1940’s.
During Londos’ era, there were several versions of the “World Title” that all carried much prestige in the territories they were defended in. Londos, one of the premier wrestlers in the business at the time, won several of them. In 1937, Londos defeated the famous Bronco Nagurski in Philadelphia the World Title as recognized by eastern promoters, and held that version of the World championship for the next 12 years, retiring as champion. Truly, Londos was one of the best of his day, and an all-time legend… But there was always one man who Londos and the promoters (as well as many fans) knew Londos could never beat — at least not without that man’s cooperation. Perennial World Champion Ed “Strangler” Lewis wrestling skill was such that virtually no one could beat him in a legitimate encounter – he was just that much better than his competition. The two engaged in several legitimate and “worked” matches, with Lewis allowing Londos to win only when he and his Chicago promoters felt it helped business. Londos reputation kept intact and continued to draw record crowds across the world. He competed in many  countries during his 15+ year long career. He once drew a crowd of nearly 100,000 in his native country of Greece, and became a national hero overseas as well as in America.
Londos retired in 1946 as one of the greatest champions in history. He engaged in, by his own estimate, over 2,500 matches and lost only a few. He spent much of his retirement working for charitable organizations, particularly for Greek World War II orphans.
Londos died of a heart attack August 19, 1975 in Escondido, California.
Sources:
Wikipedia: Jim Londos
Professional Wrestling Online Museum
Wikipedia: List of early world heavyweight champions in professional wrestling

c1939feb23O Τζιμ Λόντος (Χρήστος Θεοφίλου, 1897-1975) ήταν Παγκόσμιος Πρωταθλητής Επαγγελματικής Πάλης (κατς).
Δεκατεσσάρων χρονών έφυγε από το Κουτσοπόδι του Άργους για την Αμερική. Αρχικά εργάστηκε σε διάφορες δουλειές για βιοπορισμό, όπως αχθοφόρος, καμαρότος, μοντέλο για ζωγράφους και φωτογράφους κ.ά. Μεταπήδησε στην επαγγελματική πάλη, αφού πρώτα εργάστηκε “κάτσερ” σε ακροβατικά στο τσίρκο.
Αρχικά εμφανιζόταν ως “Κρίστοφερ Τεόφιλου, ο γυψαδόρος παλαιστής”, γιατί εμφανιζόταν με τα ρούχα της δουλειάς πριν τον αγώνα. Αργότερα καθιέρωσε το “Τζίμ Λόντος”, ένα προσωνύμιο που του δόθηκε από τον αθλητικογράφο Ρόσκο Φόσετ, έπειτα από μία νίκη του στην αρένα “Λόντον” του Πόρτλαντ.
Ήταν ευέλικτος, ταχύς αλλά και δυνατός, με άρτια τεχνική. Καθώς όμως ήταν κι όμορφος με καλοσχηματισμένο σώμα, στην αρχή της καριέρας του διάλεγε να αντιμετωπίζει άσχημους αντιπάλους, ώστε το κοινό να ταυτίζεται μαζί του και να τον υποστηρίζει. Σύντομα οι οπαδοί του άρχισαν να τον αποκαλούν “Χρυσό Έλληνα”. Έγινε επίσης γνωστός και για το λεγόμενο “αεροπλανικό κόλπο”, μια λαβή δικής του επινόησης. Αφού αρχικά προσπαθούσε να κουράσει τον αντίπαλο του, έσκυβε ξαφνικά και τον έπιανε με το ένα χέρι από τα πόδια και με το άλλο από το λαιμό. Τον σήκωνε ψηλά, τον στριφογύριζε κάμποσες φορές και στη συνέχεια τον έριχνε βαρύ στο καναβάτσο. Ήταν συνήθως η κορύφωση κάθε αγώνα του.
Υπήρξε από τους πρωτεργάτες τους είδους της πάλης που αργότερα έγινε γνωστό διεθνώς ως “κατς”. Την εποχή του οικονομικού κραχ στην Αμερική ήταν από τους λίγους που το όνομα του έφερνε κόσμο στα γήπεδα που αγωνιζόταν.
Στα 16 χρόνια της καριέρας του έδωσε περισσότερους από 2.500 αγώνες και ηττήθηκε σε λιγότερους από δέκα. Το 1938 ανακηρύχθηκε Παγκόσμιος Πρωταθλητής βαρέων βαρών, τίτλο που κράτησε μέχρι το 1946 που αποσύρθηκε. Εθιμοτυπικά του δόθηκε δια παντός η περίφημη χρυσή και αδαμαντοποίκιλτη ζώνη του πρωταθλητή.
Στο υπόλοιπο της ζωής του ασχολήθηκε με την φιλανθρωπία, κυρίως για τα ορφανά Ελληνόπουλα του Β’ παγκοσμίου πολέμου. Απεβίωσε από καρδιακή προσβολή στις 19 Αυγούστου 1975 και το μνημείο του υπάρχει στο Oak Hill Memorial Park στο Escondido της Καλιφόρνια.
Περισσότερα για διάβασμα:
Σαν Σήμερα: Τζιμ Λόντος
Αργολική Αρχειακή Βιβλιοθήκη Ιστορίας και Πολιτισμού
Μηχανή του Χρόνου

Women in the Great Depression, 1930’s

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization Manos Athanasiadis

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A mother in California who with her husband and her two children will be returned to Oklahoma by the Relief Administration. This family had lost a two-year-old baby during the winter as a result of exposure (Dorothea Lange, 1927 – Library of Congress)

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Migratory agricultural worker from Florida waiting to leave Belcross, North Carolina to another job at Onley, Virginia. It is Sunday and she is wearing her best clothes. (Jack Delano, 1940 – Library of Congress)

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression which started in 1930 and lasted until the late 1930s. Industries that suffered the most included construction, agriculture as dust-bowl conditions persisted in the agricultural heartland, shipping, mining, and logging as well as durable goods like automobiles and appliances that could be postponed. The Depression also resulted in the mass migration of people from badly hit areas in the Great Plains and the South to places such as California and the North, respectively.
The Dust Bowl, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dry-land farming methods to prevent wind erosion caused the phenomenon. With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the Plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers’ decisions to convert arid grassland to cultivated cropland.
During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky.
The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families, who were often known as “Okies” because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states. The term came to be known in the 1930s as the standard term for those who had lost everything and were struggling the most during the Great Depression.
The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history within a short period of time. Between 1930 and 1940, approximately 3.5 million people moved out of the Plains states.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was created in the Department of Agriculture in 1937. It was a New Deal program designed to assist poor farmers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
The photographs of the Farm Security Administration Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed by Roy E. Stryker and employed such  photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks, John Vachon, and Carl Mydans.
Those photographers wanted the government to move and give a hand to the people as they were completely neglected and overlooked and thus they decided to start taking photographs in a style that we today call “documentary photography.”
Under Roy Stryker, the FSA adopted a goal of “introducing America to Americans.” Stryker’s agenda focused on his faith in social engineering, the poor conditions among tenant cotton farmers, and the very poor conditions among migrant farm workers; above all he was committed to social reform through New Deal intervention in people’s lives.
Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) was an American photographer, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.
In December 1935, she married economist Paul Schuster Taylor, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Taylor educated Lange in social and political matters, and together they documented rural poverty and the exploitation of sharecroppers and migrant laborers for the next five years – Taylor interviewing and gathering economic data, Lange taking photos. In 1935 they produced five reports on the conditions of migrant agricultural workers, and Taylor used their data to get state and federal relief funding for housing for farmworkers.
Jack Delano (1914 – 1997) was born as Jacob Ovcharov in Russian Empire and moved, with his parents and younger brother, to the United States in 1923. He was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and a composer noted for his use of Puerto Rican folk material.
In 1941 he traveled to Puerto Rico as a part of the FSA project. This trip had such a profound influence on him that he settled there permanently in 1946.

Η “Μεγάλη Ύφεση” ήταν η μεγαλύτερη οικονομική ύφεση που ξέσπασε στις ΗΠΑ το 1929 και επηρέασε τις οικονομίες όλων των χωρών του κόσμου τουλάχιστον για μια δεκαετία. Δημιούργησε ένα τεράστιο αριθμό ανέργων και προκάλεσε τρομακτική ανθρωπιστική κρίση.
Την ίδια εποχή, στα απέραντα λιβάδια των μεσοδυτικών Πολιτειών (Plain States) της Αμερικής εμφανίστηκε και το φαινόμενο του Dust Bowl, μια από τις μεγαλύτερες οικολογικές καταστροφές που συνέβησαν στη χώρα. Την προηγούμενη δεκαετία, οι αγρότες θέλοντας να καλλιεργήσουν μεγαλύτερες εκτάσεις, ξεχέρσωσαν το έδαφος από τη ντόπια βλάστηση που με τις βαθιές του ρίζες συγκρατούσε το χώμα και την υγρασία στις περιόδους ξηρασίας και έντονων ανέμων. Ταυτόχρονα, η έντονη καλλιέργεια της γης που άρχισε με τα νέα μηχανήματα επιδείνωσε την κατάσταση. Στις ξηρασίες του ’30, αφού δεν υπήρχε βλάστηση να το συγκρατήσει, το χώμα έγινε σκόνη και ο αέρας τη σκόρπισε παντού. Τεράστιες αμμοθύελλες σκέπασαν τον ουρανό και κάλυψαν ολόκληρες πόλεις. Πολλοί πέθαναν από σκόνη στους πνεύμονες ή ασιτία. Έτσι, μη έχοντας έδαφος να καλλιεργήσουν και χρεωμένοι σε τράπεζες για τα νέα μηχανήματα, οι κάτοικοι αυτών των περιοχών αναγκάστηκαν να μετακινηθούν στις βόρειες πολιτείες και δυτικά προς στην Καλιφόρνια. Καθώς οι περισσότεροι ήταν από την πολιτεία της Οκλαχόμα, δημιουργήθηκε ο όρος “Okie“, που σήμαινε αυτόν που είχε χάσει τα πάντα και ήταν το μεγαλύτερο θύμα της Ύφεσης. Μέσα σε μια δεκαετία 3,5 εκατομμύρια άνθρωποι έφυγαν από τις πολιτείες των μεγάλων πεδιάδων. Αποτελεί τη μεγαλύτερη μετακίνηση πληθυσμού σε τόσο μικρό διάστημα, στη ιστορία της Αμερικής.

Η Διοίκηση Αγροτικής Ασφάλειας (Farm Security Administration) δημιουργήθηκε, το 1937 ως πρόγραμμα του New Deal, με σκοπό την ανακούφιση των φτωχών αγροτών στη διάρκεια της Μεγάλης Ύφεσης. Ο επικεφαλής του προγράμματος, Ρόϋ Στράϊκερ, προσέλαβε έντεκα φωτογράφους για να αποτυπώσουν την κατάσταση στις Μεσοδυτικές Πολιτείες. Σκοπός του ήταν όχι μόνο η ενημέρωση αλλά και η αφύπνιση των Αμερικάνων.
Ανάμεσα στους φωτογράφους ήταν η Δωροθέα Λάνγκε και ο Τζάκ Ντελάνο. Η δουλειά της πρώτης θεωρείται από τις πιο επιδραστικές στο χώρο της φωτογραφίας-ντοκουμέντου. Από το 1935 ως το 1940, μαζί με το σύντροφο της οικονομολόγο Πώλ Σούστερ Τέϋλορ, γύρισαν την Αμερική αποτυπώνοντας τη φτώχεια και την εκμετάλλευση των αγροτών και εργατών της χώρας με σκοπό να τους εξασφαλίσουν κρατική βοήθεια.
Ο Τζάκ Ντελάνο, το 1941 πήγε στο Πουέρτο Ρίκο να φωτογραφήσει για την FSA και το 1946 εγκαταστάθηκε μόνιμα εκεί. Aν και είναι ίσως ο λιγότερο γνωστός από τους φωτογράφους του προγράμματος, υπήρξε ένας πολύπλευρος καλλιτέχνης: φωτογράφος, εικονογράφος, σκηνοθέτης και συνθέτης μουσικής.

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