Category Archives: FSA Photographer Arthur Rothstein

James McDuffie Demonstrates Traditional Plowing

James McDuffie Harnessing Mules Irwinville Farms GA Photo Arthur Rothstein Courtesy Library of Congress Irwinvile Farms Website

These images are part of a series made by Arthur Rothstein, likely for use in a feature that was published later in 1938 in Progressive Farmer magazine. Along with Chester Foster’s family, the McDuffie family was the best-documented of the entire project.

James McDuffie Plowing His Cornfield at Irwinville Farms GA Photo Arthur Rothstein Courtesy Library of Congress Irwinville Farms Website

James McDuffie Plowing Cornfield Irwinville Farms GA Photo Arthur Rothstein Courtesy Library of Congress Irwinville Farms Website

James McDuffie In Cornfield Irwinville Farms GA Photo Arthur Rothstein Courtesy Library of Congress Irwinville Farms Website

James McDuffie Plowing at Irwinville Farms GA Photo Arthur Rothstein Courtesy Library of Congerss Irwinville Farms Website

Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress (May 1938)

 

 

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Blacksmith at Irwinille

Blacksmith Irwinville GA Photo by Arthur Rothstein August 1935 Library of Congress Brian Brown Irwinville Farms Website

This gentleman is not identified but is thought to have been photographed in the earliest days of the Irwinville Farms Project.

Blacksmith Wagoner Irwinville GA Photo by Arthur Rothstein August 1935 Library of Congress Brian Brown Irwinville Farms Website

Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress (August 1935)

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Wilson Farmstead, Irwin County

Home of a tenant farmer who will be resettled Irwinville Farms GA Photograph by Arthur Rothstein Library of Congress Brian Brown Irwinville Farms Website

This was among the most common styles of housing in South Georgia prior to the Great Depression; many structures of this style remain today in various stages of modification. Thanks to Gary McDaniel for identifying this as his grandparents’ home. It was archived as a typical home of an Irwinville Farms client before resettlement. The young boy on the front porch, barely visible on the right, is his uncle, Bill Wilson. Gary’s mother, Joy Wilson McDaniel, is an Irwinville native and the author of the wonderful history: Irwinville Farms Project: The Making of  a Community.

Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress (September 1935)

Here’s a link to the photograph of Bill Wilson:

https://irwinvillega.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/son-of-sharecropper-who-will-be-resettled-on-the-irwinville-farms-project-georgia/

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Sawmill Worker at Irwinville, 1935

Sawmill Worker at Irwinville Farms GA Great Depression Arthur Rothstein August 1935 © Brian Brown Vanishing Media Irwinville Farms Website 2013

Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress (August 1935)

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Arthur Rothstein Archive

Arthur Rothstein, Circa 1938 – Library of Congress

I recently got an interesting email from Annie Segan, the daughter of legendary photographer Arthur Rothstein. Rothstein was among the most active photographers in Irwinville during the late 1930s, and his work captures the essence of the project as well as any of his contemporaries. Ms. Segan is a personal historian who uses a method called “photo elicitation technique” in which subjects recall portions of their lives through the use of imagery. I think it’s very appropriate that one of Mr. Rothstein’s children would have a career in photography, albeit an altogether different context. Annie contacted me to make me aware of the Arthur Rothstein Archive, which I was delighted to discover. If you’re interested in learning more about the man behind many of the most iconic images of Irwinville during the Great Depression, please visit this site:

http://arthurrothsteinarchive.com/

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Turpentine Industry at Irwinville

Turpentine distillery near the project Irwin County Georgia Arthur Rothstein Library of Congress Southern Folklife Depression © Brian Brown Irwinville Farms Vanishing Media USA 2012

Turpentine Still at Irwinville

Trap used on pine tree for catching sap for turpentine distillation Irwin County Georgia Arthur Rothstein August 1935 Library of Congress Turpentine © Brian Brown Irwinville Farms Vanishing Media USA 2012

Catface Used in Turpentining

Both Images: Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress. (August 1935)

“Gum from the pine tree was distilled into rosin and spirits of turpentine in what has been described by many as [an] “oversized liquor still”. The collection and processing of pine gum was a year round ordeal and often required a large work force. Laborers would work their way from tree to tree chipping shallow gutters (called streaks) into the fresh wood of the tree face with a tool called a hack. This cut face and aluminum gutters nailed to the tree would direct the gum down into a “box” that was notched at the bottom of the tree by a broad axe. However, these boxes were often very destructive-essentially girdling the tree at its base. In the early years of the twentieth century, technology improvements allowed gum to be collected in clay or metal cups hung from the tree by a nail. The cut faces were sometimes called “catfaces”.

From Auburn University’s Longleaf Alliance webpage:

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/forestry_wildlife/longleafalliance/ecosystem/ecosystem.htm

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Bill Wilson

Arthur Rothstein/Library of Congress. (August 1935)

Bill Wilson was the brother of Joy Wilson McDaniel, author of Irwinville Farms Project: The Making of a Community.

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