Thursday, July 30, 2009

Puerto Rico, circa 1941

Esmeralda Santiago's facebook status recently reminded me of the great treasure of photographs accessible online at Library of Congress, taken by documented photographer, Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration, Washington D.C. and Office of War Information.

What is rather heart wrenching to me is that this is the Puerto Rico my mother knew and lived. She was born in 1942 and Puerto Rico, like any other place has changed. She has changed. Unfortunately, many of mother's photographs were lost before she ever came to the mainland. I'm not sure if she lost her suitcase or it was stolen but it carried all of her precious pictures.


Take a trip back in time and place with me...

Aibonito, Puerto Rico. Children at school (Jan. 1942)



Slum area in Ponce, Puerto Rico - Dec. 1941 (my mother's hometown, although she lived on a farm, a year before she was born)



Ponce, Puerto Rico. Family living in the slum area (Dec. 1942)



The pictures while a little bit disturbing (why were the subjects documented by someone from the office of war information?) to me, the value to someone whose only memories of that time come from images like this is priceless.

If you would like to peruse for yourself, check them out at www.loc.gov

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:00 AM

    The Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation in San Juan holds the personal collection of Jack Delano, it includes notes, drawings, prints, sketches, musical compositions and photographs of Puerto Rico among other artifacts. The photos from the 1940s were commissioned by the federal government as part of a New Deal project to document the living conditions in the rural areas of the US including its territories.

    See "Farm Security Administration" and "New Deal photography".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! Here is the link for The Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation: http://www.flmm.org/archivo.htm

    ReplyDelete
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