36 Chapters
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PORTFOLIO TWO: OWI: Chicago

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

PORTFOLIO T WO

OWI: CHIC AGO

PLAYER WITH RAILROADS AND THE

NATION’S FREIGHT HANDLER . . .

FROM “CHIC AGO,” BY C ARL SANDBURG

After a steep decline in activity during the years of the Great

Depression, the railroads of the United States were suddenly faced with an onslaught of traffic as the country prepared for, and entered, World

War II. Since passenger travel was still largely by rail during this period, the increase included dramatic expansions of freight and passenger traffic, the latter driven both by troop trains and by restrictions on civilian purchases of items such as tires and gasoline.1

Chicago, as the most important railroad interchange point in the

United States, was dramatically impacted by this upsurge in railway traffic. Roy Stryker, as ever the strategic thinker behind the FSA and

OWI photographers and their assignments, had long viewed the railroad as an important part of the American scene.2 In late 1942, Stryker sent Jack Delano to Chicago to conduct an extended project focused on documenting the railroad industry’s contribution to the US war effort.3

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PORTFOLIO FOUR: FSA/OWI: The American Railroad in Color, 1940–1943

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

PORTFOLIO FOUR

FSA /OWI: THE AMERIC AN RAILROAD IN COLOR, 1940 –1943

Kodachrome, introduced in the mid-1930s, proved to be one of the best and most durable color films used for the next seventy years.1 The film was used for both still and motion picture cameras, and was available in a variety of formats. The rise of so-called “E-6” films such as Ektachrome and Fujichrome and the widespread adoption of digital media, combined with the complex methods required to process

Kodachrome, led to its discontinuance in 2009. Kodachrome’s widespread use in the decades after its introduction, along with its relative resistance to color-format challenges such as color shifts, is a boon to those interested in period, color documentation of the American scene from 1935 through 2010.

The introduction of Kodachrome coincided with the opening of the Historical Section in 1935. Although the vast majority of FSA/OWI images were shot in black-and-white, a substantive number of images were recorded using color film. According to the Library of Congress website, about 1,600 color FSA/OWI images were made between 1939 and 1944. Most of the FSA color images are color slides shot on Kodachrome 35mm film; others are color transparencies in sizes as large as 4 × 5 inches. The OWI images, which include most of Delano’s railroad-subject FSA/OWI images, are color transparencies in sizes up to

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Appendix One: Notes on the Plate Captions and on the Plates

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

APPENDIX ONE

NOTES ON THE PLATE C AP TIONS AND ON THE PLATES

Notes on the Photograph Titles in the Plate Captions

The captions are as the photographer prepared them. Generally, the only changes that have been made are minor corrections to capitalization (for example, “Union Station” for “Union station”), incorrect punctuation or character spacing (for example, “E. K. Hill” for “E.K. Hill”), and abbreviations (such as substituting names of states for their abbreviated forms). James E. Valle, in his groundbreaking 1977 book, The Iron

Horse at War, did not use Delano’s captions, but instead provided his own, extended captions. The design and photographic reproduction in his book does not reflect contemporary art-book standards, but these extended captions provide a wealth of information for those who desire more background on the subjects of the 272 Delano photographs included in the book. The Iron Horse at War covers only Delano’s blackand-white Chicago and Santa Fe photographs; it does not cover his FSA railroad-subject work, nor does it include any color photographs.

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Appendix Two: Roy Stryker’s FSA/OWI Shooting Scripts concerning American Railroads

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

APPENDIX T WO

ROY STRYKER’S FSA /OWI SHOOTING SCRIP TS CONCERNING AMERIC AN RAILROADS

Historical Section head Roy Stryker prepared “shooting scripts,” also termed “assignments” or “outlines,” both for the photographers working for him generally, and also for named photographers being sent on specific assignments. A relatively large number of these shooting scripts – five are known to exist – concerned American railroads. They are both historically interesting and also of value for railroad-subject photographers today. All of the known railroad-subject shooting scripts are presented here together for the first time. They are reproduced as Stryker wrote them, with italics used here in place of his underlining.

A fascinating aspect of these scripts is the depth of railroad knowledge Stryker demonstrates; for example, his knowing the details of how men lived and ate in work trains at the time, and that there were hand-powered and motorized track inspection cars during this period.

Stryker also demonstrates a strong knowledge of existing photographic work concerning American railroads at the time; for example, see his mention in one of the scripts of the “wealth of material already in existence” depicting American locomotives.

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PORTFOLIO ONE: The Farm Security Administration Photos, 1940–1942

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

PORTFOLIO ONE

THE FARM SECURIT Y ADMINISTRATION PHOTOS, 1940 –1942

Figure 1.1. Washington, DC. Portrait of

Jack Delano, Office of War Information photographer. September 1942. John Collier.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSAOWI Collection, Reproduction Number LC-USF34-014739-E.

In February 1940, Roy Stryker, chief of the FSA Historical Section, wrote to John R. Fischer, director of the Division of Information:

We are going to have to move fast to get a new man on the payroll to replace Arthur Rothstein. As you know, it is not going to be the easiest thing in the world to find a man to take hold of Arthur’s job and get into the swing of production in the manner of Lee, Rothstein, and

Post. . . . We have already found the man, Mr. Jack Delano. . . . We have an outstanding person. He is an artist by training, and has used the camera for several years. He did one of the finest jobs on the story of the coal miners in the anthracite region that I have ever seen. A man that can turn out as excellent a job is not to be lost.1

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PORTFOLIO THREE: OWI: Across the Continent on the Santa Fe

Reevy, Tony Indiana University Press PDF

PORTFOLIO THREE

OWI: ACROSS THE CONTINENT ON THE SANTA FE

If Chicago was, and is, the great city of American railroading, during World War II the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway

(AT&SF) was, by any measure, one of the great transportation companies. The Pennsylvania Railroad was, by many standards, more important to the United States, the servant of its industrial heartland, but the

Santa Fe was one of the major transcontinentals.1

It was also an innovator, pioneering in its attempts to advance its passenger traffic by encouraging tourist travel. These efforts included acting as a patron for artists of the American West, making notable innovations in advertising, and encouraging the parallel evolution of the famed Fred Harvey Company and its “Harvey Houses” and “Harvey

Girls.” These innovations had ripples throughout American society, including the development of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as an internationally significant art center, and the great and lasting popularity of the

Grand Canyon as a tourist attraction.

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“Driving Across Texas at Thirty-Five Miles Per Hour”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

DRIVING ACROSS TEXAS AT THIRTY-FIVE

MILES PER HOUR by Jean Granberry Schnitz

Progress. That’s what they call it. True, travel is easier and faster than it was when I was a child, but trips across Texas are not what they were during the 1930s and 1940s. Expressways and interstate highways now speed travelers to their destinations. The wonderful little towns, the cities full of amazing sights, the courthouses, many with matching small-scale jails—all are by-passed by modern transportation systems. Gone are stop lights and bumpy roads, but not hot, dusty afternoons and freezing mornings. We just don’t notice the outside weather as much now that the windows are tightly closed!

Imagine having no radio or tape deck or CD player or television to bombard the vehicle with sound! Modern children cannot imagine dashing across Texas at thirty-five miles an hour—or less.

How long would a mere six-hundred-mile trip take at that speed?

It would require seventeen hours of driving, plus time for meals, fuel, and other stops. Seventeen hours strapped into a child safety seat would be pure torture! Despite the long hours, I wouldn’t take anything for the experiences my family had during such trips.

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“Walter Henry Burton’s Ride—Bell County to Juarez, Mexico in 1888”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

WALTER HENRY BURTON’S RIDE—BELL

COUNTY TO JUAREZ, MEXICO IN 1888 by James Burton Kelly

Walter Henry Burton was the first of seven sons born to John

Henry Martin Burton Jr. and Cynthia Priscilla Pass Burton. He was my maternal grandfather. He stood about 5′ 7″ tall and probably weighed 150 pounds—boots, hat, longjohns and all. But to me, he was a giant of a man, from my first recollection of him until the day he was buried in the Cleburne cemetery following a fatal automobile accident at age 76.

I could and hopefully will write a lot more about his life and the stories he told me when I was a young boy and spent all of my summers and holidays on the family farm and ranch six miles southwest of Cleburne in Johnson County, Texas. This story is about his two trips horseback from Bell County, Texas, to Juarez,

Mexico, to visit and work for his maternal grandfather Lafayette

Pass in 1888.

Walter Burton’s children called him “Dad” and his grandchildren called him Daddy Burton. When I was very young, Daddy

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“Farm and Ranch Entrances in West Texas”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

FARM AND RANCH ENTRANCES

IN WEST TEXAS by Mary Harris

In Elmer Kelton’s novel The Man Who Rode Midnight, the grandson of the old-time rancher and protagonist Wes Hendrix thinks about city folks moving to the country and pretending that they are ranchers. Kelton writes:

Along the road, especially near to town, Jim Ed saw perhaps twenty fancy gateways of stone and steel and brick, bearing names like Angora Acres and

Rancho Restful and The Poor Farm. He looked twice at a sign that declared Heavenly Days Ranch.

These were the harbingers of an urban invasion, ten- and twenty- and fifty-acre ranchettes, homesites for city folk who wanted to play at the rustic life without suffering its discomforts.1

The novelist’s references to “fancy gateways,” and what he later refers to as an “entrance gate” or a “decorative arch,” are called in this paper “decorative entrances.” These decorative entrances are those highway and county road structures that announce to the passer that here is access to a Charolais ranch or a cotton farm, or as Kelton writes, smaller places where the people want “to play at the rustic life.”2

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“Eating Up Route 66: Foodways of Motorists Crossing the Texas Panhandle”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

EATING UP ROUTE 66: FOODWAYS

OF MOTORISTS CROSSING

THE TEXAS PANHANDLE by T. Lindsay Baker

From the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s, U.S. Highway 66 served as a major thoroughfare for motorists traveling between the Midwest and the Pacific coast. In the mid-1920s, the U.S. Bureau of

Roads began designating highways in the forty-eight states with identifying numbers. In 1926, the agency gave number 66 to a combination of roads that started at Chicago and passed through

St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, and Albuquerque to reach Los

Angeles, over 2,400 miles away. In Texas the roads that became

Route 66 were dirt tracks parallel to the Rock Island Railroad across the Panhandle.

Few highways in America gave travelers such geographical and cultural diversity as Route 66. From the cornfields of Illinois, drivers went through the Ozarks in Missouri before entering the oil fields and red hills of Oklahoma. They then crossed the treeless plains in the Texas Panhandle before driving through the deserts and Indian country of New Mexico and Arizona. In their unairconditioned cars they proceeded through the Mojave Desert, passed by orange groves in southern California, and reached the

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3. Work Experiences

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo various duties that trackmen performed: unloading rails, ties and tamping the roadbed. And, of course, it reflects the physical exhaustion and hard-core vernacular that often accompanied heavy masculine work. Indeed, the most salient issue emerging from this corrido is the collective experience of Mexican trackmen in cooperation with one another in one of the largest employment sectors in the country. And as such, these workers derived overwhelmingly from the Mexican working-class. According to the late Ernesto Galarza,

“as a group [the Mexican immigrant worker] they represent the most authentic transplant of Mexican working-class culture in the

United States.”2

This chapter examines the work experiences of Mexican track workers (primarily men) based upon both the attitudes of railroad managers about Mexicans and Mexican attitudes about their backbreaking work on el traque. It describes what they did off the job, i.e., during lunch, evenings, weekends, holidays, as well as how they coped during down-times, unemployment. Specifically this chapter discusses the concept of common labor, working conditions, the effects of Americanization and Taylorism. Finally, it reconstructs the recreational and casual activities of Mexican track workers. In so doing, this chapter shows how traqueros shaped the world of track work within the context and limitations of industrial capitalism through their bonds and relationships with one another as well as with the institution of the railroad.

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2. Labor Recruitment

Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 2

Labor Recruitment

T

“ 

here was much work to do for the railroad,” former

traquero Jesús Ramírez recalled.1 Ramírez was born in Silao,

Guanajuato, in 1900, and left at the age of fifteen with his father to lay tracks in Kansas, working ten hours a day at ten cents an hour.

Because of the lack of work in Mexico, and the unsettled conditions resulting from the Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Mexican men and women decided to leave Mexico, at least temporarily in order to find work, peace, and to raise families in the United States.

Ramírez eventually remained with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe

Railroad in Emporia, Kansas, until he retired. When Ramírez arrived in 1916, annual Mexican immigration hovered around 18,000. By

1920 that figure had jumped to 54,000.2

This chapter examines the origins, growth, and diaspora of

Mexican railroad workers in the United States, especially on the

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Within the constraints presented by the growth of the railroad in the Southwest, Mexican track workers and their families made important decisions about the conditions of their employment, where they worked, where they lived, and how they determined the quality of their daily lives within the confines of a burgeoning extractive economy.

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“Traveling Texan”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

TRAVELING TEXAN by Archie P. McDonald

People just can’t stay put. As much as we love hometowns, or

Texas, or America, curiosity and horizons summon us to adventures beyond the seas. Texans, no less than Connecticut Yankees, wander the world with itchy feet and wide eyes at the wonder of it all.

I joined the caravan late. Apart from occasional excursions across the Rio Grande, I was dangerously close to the epitaph I read in an old novel a half century ago: “Here is my butt, the very watermark of all my sails.” Title and author escape me now, so this is as much attribution as I can muster for a line I wish I had written.

Then, in 1986, Ab and Hazel Abernethy tolerated my tagging along with them to Australia for three weeks on a folklore exchange. Ask Ab about our assignment to entertain the inebriated crew of the USS Joseph Kennedy, in port at American River on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, or the controversies that come with comparison of Queensland versus South Australia beer.

The passport acquired for visiting Australia got another stamp in 1990, when the fellow slated to escort fifteen high schoolers on a three-week summer trip to Germany had to withdraw. “Have passport and will travel,” says I, when the chairman of the exchange committee asked me to take over. The deal involved round-trip airfare and home stay with Rotarians in three cities.

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“Iron Butt Saddlesore”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

IRON BUTT SADDLESORE by Paul N. Yeager

Three-thirty A.M. comes early to a city boy working nine to five.

That was the meet-time to join a group of motorcyclists trying for a Saddlesore 2000. The ride was to start at 4:00 A.M. on the Summer Solstice 2003 and cover over 2,000 miles in less than fortyeight hours. This entry-level jaunt for joining the Iron Butt

Association had been organized by Beverly Ruffin of the Houston

BMW club, and I figured if I was ever going to do anything official on a motorcycle, it would be because somebody else had set it up.

I left the house around 3:00 A.M., just as my kids were coming in for the night. I said I was glad they were home safely and they wished me luck on the ride. I knew they’d be sleeping the next eight or ten hours, and they knew I’d be out pounding wind somewhere in West Texas when they woke up. It was an odd moment for all of us.

The meeting place was a filling station on I-10 at mile marker

761. I rolled in shortly after 3:30, the last one to arrive. Six others were there, having already gassed up and gotten receipts. After a round of murmured hellos at my arrival, each went back to quietly poking around his or her bike. Three-thirty was too early for chatter. The other bikes included a thirty-year-old BMW slash-5, a twin cruiser with ape-hanger handlebars, a couple of older-model

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“The Unspoken Code of Chivalry Among Drag Racers”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

THE UNSPOKEN CODE OF CHIVALRY

AMONG DRAG RACERS by Gretchen Lutz

At a typical race among “outlaw” pro mod drag racers, spectators see relentless competition among perennial rivals. During warm weather months, fans gather at local drag strips to see the show put on by Texas Outlaw Racing, an organization of pro mod racers. To the observer, it appears that a racer is single-minded in his or her need to beat the car in the other lane. And that is true. But that is not the whole truth. What the fan does not see is how the racers interact with one another before and after that four-second-pass down the track. Until the moment the tree goes to green, the typical pro mod racer will do anything he can to make a fellow racer’s car go faster. An unspoken code of chivalry informs the way racers behave toward one another, creating an enigmatic, even genteel brotherhood that the unrestrained speed, power, and dazzle of the sport belie.

To the spectators, the pro mods are indeed outlaw racers, not being restricted by the rules imposed on bracket racers or even on the pro stocks. Pro mods can run with nitrous oxide, with blowers, with extreme scoops, or with outrageous wings, the functional features exaggerated by flamboyant paint jobs. With only the restrictions for safety and the requirement that the cars be “door slammers”—that is to say, have two doors—anything else goes.

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