Town Life

As these photographs attest, although the era was bleak, a liveliness prevailed through the hardship. In his photographs, Delano captures a return to normalcy--in community parades, butcher shops, and street scenes. FSA director Roy Stryker had charged Delano and the other FSA photographers to document positive aspects of everyday life. Their task was part public relations, as Stryker directed them to photograph “Lots of food, strong husky Americans, machinery, show it as big and powerful, good highways, spaciousness. Also watch for such things as good schools, freedom of education, church services, meetings of all kinds. … Watch out for particularly important nationality groups, particularly in the rural areas. Scandinavians, Swiss, Portuguese, Spanish showing community life, close-ups of people and activities. These will be most useful.”

 

Pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Mr. Timothy Levy Crouch, a Rogerine Quaker living in Ledyard, Connecticut<br />

Mr. Timothy Crouch was a Quaker, by profession a stonemason. The family had always lived in Ledyard and celebrated Thanksgiving together. Mrs. Crouch and all the children had worked for days preparing the feast, and there were twenty people for dinner, to share a twenty-pound turkey with all the trimmings. The meal had to be served in two shifts.

 Instead of trying to photograph the entire family at the dinner table, I took advantage of a large mirror in the dining room. Spread out on a shelf in front of the mirror were the pumpkin pies--traditional symbols of Thanksgiving--and in the background, reflected in the mirror...saw the family enjoying their meal.

--Jack Delano

 

Town Life