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"Hump" Control Tower at a Railroad Yard (editor's title)

C&NW hump towerman
Towerman R. W. Mayberry (1901-54) of Elmhurst, Illinois, operates a set of retarders and switches in the hump tower at the Chicago & North Western Railway's Proviso Yard near Chicago in May 1943. The railroad uses the hump yard to sort freight cars, via gravity, by their destinations. At the top of the hump, workers uncouple the cars, which then roll down the hump toward the many tracks which comprise the "bowl" of the yard. A schematic diagram of the bowl is partially visible at upper left. The towerman sets the switches to guide each car into the proper track, and uses the retarders to keep the cars traveling at safe speeds. The view was taken during World War II to help tell the story of home-front industries and their importance. For an exterior view of a locomotive pushing cars up the hump, see record 2154.
Alternate Title FSA-OWI Railroad Photography
Source Library of Congress
Coverage Spatial, Chicago, Illinois; Temporal, May 1943
Rights Library of Congress
Date Created 1943
Resource Type
Extent Not available
Depicted Railroad
Location Chicago, Illinois
Creator Description Jack Delano had careers as both a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, beginning in 1942, and a composer of music, who grew up on Puerto Rican folk songs. Born in Russia, he came to the U.S. in 1923. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1932, and got a job with the Farm Security Administration because of an impressive photographic project about mining conditions in the Pennsylvania anthracite area. As part of an FSA project he visited Puerto Rico and settled there in 1946. He photographed railroads extensively for the FSA and its successor, the Office of War Information.
Comments The Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information began as a New Deal program of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency as a part of the Resettlement Administration, which was established to combat poverty. It evolved into the modern Farmers Home Administration that helps farmers acquire property. The FSA engaged photographers to document rural America, resulting in iconic images by such notable photographers as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Gordon Parks. After the U.S. declared war on Japan and also joined its European allies in their strike against Germany in 1941, the government created the Office of War Information, whose photographers documented America's mobilization from 1942 through 1943. (The war ended in 1945.) They concentrated on topics like industry and women and minorities in the work force. FSA and OWI photography efforts were led by Roy Emerson Stryker, and the resulting 108,000 images are now at the Library of Congress. Many document railroad-related subjects, especially World War II home-front activities.
Collection Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information
Image ID LC-USW36-588
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