Tag Archives: 1940s

Need gift ideas for this holiday season? Buy digital scans of beautiful posters from our archive!

9 Dec

Need gift ideas for this holiday season?

The Arizona Historical Society Library & Archives in Tucson has some posters for sale in their reading room!

A digital scan of any of select posters are $29, and they also have some selected maps for $35.

PosterPic

Some of our selected posters that we digitally scanned and are ready to come home with you!

Come by the reading room to see what is on sale! We are open Monday – Friday 9am-4pm or contact the library at ahsref@azhs.gov or (520) 617 – 1157, if you’re interested or have any questions.

*For personal use only, not for publication.

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Photo Friday– Zoot Suiters from the 1940s

26 Sep

As we prepared to have a tour for a class that is learning about Zoot Suit women or Pachucas in the 1940s, we were lucky enough to find this gem of an unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s, in our vast collections of photographs.

Unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s -- Photo #64674

Unidentified Zoot Suit Woman or Pachuca from the 1940s — Photo #64674

Zoot Suiters (also known as Pachucos or Pachucas) were Mexican Americans located in various parts of the Southwest, including Tucson, Arizona in the WWII era. They dressed distinctively, and they rebelled against total assimilation in the the mainstream culture. Their Zoot Suits, (or something like it for women, although some women wore Zoot Suits) included long coats with padded shoulders or tacuches, dress pants with a wide leg and tight at the bottom, as shown in the photograph below of the unidentified Zoot Suiter. They also spoke in Pachuco slang or what they called Caló.

Unife

Unidentified Pachuco from the 1940s — Photo #64673

Zoot Suits were also popular in the African American and Italian American communities. If you want to see more photos like this, check out the Mexican Heritage Project online exhibit or come to the archives!

Montana Mine Correspondence

22 Nov
I love the letterhead symbol on this one. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Honestly, I just love the letterhead symbol on this one. If you look closely you can see parts of a tank. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Lately I’ve been working my way through the correspondence series of the Montana Mine Collection. The majority of the correspondence, outside of that which is related to the financial business of the mine, is actually from a later period of the mine’s existence, when it was owned by a Mr. Hugo Miller. Most of this is the Miller family’s personal correspondence, offering an interesting insight into the lives of this entrepreneurial southern Arizona family.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Living with a miner is never easy! As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Miller owned an assay office in Nogales and mined on the side. It was not uncommon in the past for men and women with minds for business and an eye for good opportunities to work a mining claim into their business investments. Even now it’s not unusual for private citizens here in Arizona to have ownership of a small mine in the area that they work on periodically as they have free time. The letter you see below is an excerpt from a letter from Mrs. Gladys Miller to a friend and mentions the reality of living with the sort of jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur of a man that Mr. Miller was. From the excerpt you can tell that the Millers had great business acumen, even taking  boarders in their house to make some extra money. This correspondence suggests that the Miller family was a hard working one.

The letter below was interesting because of the context of the attached newspaper clipping. Again, this is a rare glimpse into the daily realities of living in past times. In this case, wartime rationing takes center stage as a friend, Edna, writes to ask whether the newspaper article is true and then asks her friend, Gladys, to purchase extra Nylons for her! Rationing during wartime meant people had to get creative in their daily lives to continue on as normally as possible. Having a friend who could easily get across the border to purchase stockings in Mexico definitely would have been an advantage. This is just another example of how people worked together and created good relationships during times of hardship.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

A clever way to circumvent wartime rationing. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

These letters are all great examples of how the correspondence in a collection can yield really interesting insights into the past. Whether it’s fun snippets such as these I’ve shared above or more serious historical connections, correspondence is always a treasure trove of historical moments.

Women in Mining Towns: A Look at the Past through Accident Reports

28 Jun

A couple of months ago as I processed the Montana Mine collection I found myself sifting through the Accident Reports for the mine. As I was placing them into the appropriate folders, certain accidents became familiar to me: dirt/rock chip in the eye, small wounds like cuts, bumps on the head, sprained this or that and the occasional broken bone.  There were other and more serious injuries of course, but the majority of things seemed pretty minor in that they wouldn’t keep the miner from his work for more than a few days. These were all very interesting of course, but what was most interesting to me was the amount of accident reports that were present for women. There were not many of them, especially compared to the reports filed by men, so I noticed them pretty quickly and once I did I kept track of them. The pictures you’ll see in this post are scans of a few of my favorites.

I was struck by their presence in the collection. I had not really thought about women in Ruby working for the Montana Mine. I had assumed that they were probably all housewives with sweet, rosy-cheeked picturesque children. I was happy to find that there were women in Ruby working for the Montana Mine who were married, single, and even widowed. Women of many ages were represented in the reports from those in their 20s to those in their 40s. Though it doesn’t seem they were employed in the actual mine itself, we can see that they helped run the boarding house, kitchens and hospitals kept by the Eagle-Picher Mining Company in Ruby. This is a reflection of the kind of work women were doing at that moment in history. A lot has changed since then! Another tidbit I found interesting, is the actual Accident Report form that was filled out. Rather than use the term “employee” to refer to the injured person, the forms all use the word “man.” As they were filling out the forms, some people crossed out the “man” and wrote “woman” or added the “wo” to the typed form letters and some didn’t bother to change it at all. These observations are all a snapshot of a certain moment in history when women in the workforce were not as prominent as they are today and often limited to a very specific set of jobs. You’ve come a long way, ladies!

Want to learn more about Ruby, Arizona and the Montana Mine? Pick up a copy of “Ruby, Arizona: Mining, Mayhem and Murder” by Bob Ring, Al Ring and Tallia Pfrimmer Cahoon. Copies are available in the Mercantile here at the Arizona Historical Society!

Two accident reports from the Montana Mine collection.

Two accident reports from the Montana Mine collection. Yikes! These both probably hurt a lot! Check out the difference in pay per month.

This Accident Report is written in faded pencil, so it's harder to see. Interesting that the accident was deemed "unavoidable." I guess all jobs have a certain amount of risk.

This Accident Report is written in faded pencil, so it’s harder to see. Interesting that the accident was deemed “unavoidable.” I guess all jobs have a certain amount of risk.

Notice that in the left one, "Man's" is XXXed out and "Woman's" typed in.

Notice that in the left one, “Man’s” is XXXed out and “Woman’s” typed in. Jennie Gover’s accident description is really detailed and the incorrect pronouns corrected throughout the Accident Report. In the Accident Report on the right side, Mrs. Gover is listed as the shift boss.