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Local photos

Nanty Glo scenes from 1937

The photos in this online album were taken in Nanty Glo in 1937 by Ben Shahn, 1898-1969, working under auspices of the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information under the federal administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They are taken from the Library of Congress collection which, as the work of federal employees, is not protected by copyright.

The captions accompanying the Library of Congress photos of people salvaging coal from the rock dumps (which refer to them as “bony piles”) say the coal pickers “receive 10 cents per hundred-pound sack or two dollars a ton. One man can fill from ten to twenty sacks a day.”

The Library of Congress describes the collection from which they were taken as follows:

The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. In the early years, the project emphasized rural life and the negative impact of the Great Depression, farm mechanization, and the Dust Bowl. In later years, the photographers turned their attention to the mobilization effort for World War II. The core of the collection consists of about 164,000 black-and-white photographs. This release provides access to over 112,000 of these images; future additions will expand the black-and-white offering. The FSA-OWI photographers also produced about 1600 color photographs during the latter days of the project.