I was recently researching some historic photos when I ran across the Library of Congress website for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. Initially created in 1935 as part of the New Deal, the FSA was an effort during the Depression to document and combat American rural poverty.
The FSA photo collection houses some of the most famous photographs in history, including Dorthea Lange's migrant mother photo and Arthur Rothstein's Oklahoma dust bowl photo. Other legendary FSA photojournalists included Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans.
I was immediately curious if there were any Texas BBQ photos. When I put in the search term "barbecue" I got 98 hits, much to my delight. Four of the photos were from Texas, including the photo above, taken in 1939 by Russell Lee. The caption reads: Man slicing barbecue at lunch stand at the Gonzales County Fair. Gonzales, Texas.
Here are the other three FSA barbecue images shot in Texas. I'm looking forward to digging deeper into the photographic history of Texas BBQ. You can click here to see a slideshow of some of the more famous FSA depression era photos on flicker.
If you'd like to see a beautiful gallery of photos shot by Dorothea Lange, one of the top documentary photographers of her generation, you can click here on Artsy. Their mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an internet connection, in hope of promoting arts education and accessibility.
Caption: Negro sitting on bench at side of barbecue stand made of galvanized metal, Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo by Russell Lee, 1939.
Caption: Harlingen, Texas. Barbecue stand. Photo by John Vachon, 1943.
Caption: Barbecue drive-in restaurant. Fort Worth-Dallas highway, Texas. Photo by Russell Lee, 1942.