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Greasing a Locomotive at Blue Island, Illinois, 1943 (editor's title)

Tomas Madrigal
Tomas Madrigal greasing a steam locomotive in the Rock Island roundhouse at Blue Island, Illinois, in April 1943. Madrigal (1915-86) was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. when he was about 17. He worked for Rock Island for about 35 years, retiring in 1975. Blue Island, a suburb south Chicago, was the location of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad's major locomotive shop in the Chicago area, and was especially busy during World War II when this photograph was taken. Madrigal's son said 85 percent of the roundhouse workers were born in Mexico. The roundhouse later serviced diesel locomotives. In Library of Congress records, Tomas Madrigal's first name is given as Thomas.
Alternate Title FSA-OWI Railroad Photography
Source Library of Congress
Coverage Spatial, Blue Island, Illinois; Temporal, April 1943
Rights Library of Congress
Date Created 1943
Resource Type
Extent 3-1/4 in. x 4-1/4 in.
Depicted Railroad
Location Blue Island, Illinois
Creator Description Jack Delano (1914-97) had careers as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, beginning in 1940, and a composer of music. Born in Ukraine, he came to the U.S. in 1923. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1932, and because of an impressive photographic project about mining conditions in the Pennsylvania anthracite area, got a job with the FSA. He photographed railroads extensively for the FSA and its successor, the Office of War Information. He worked particularly in Chicago, then to the Pacific Coast, often using color--a new medium at the time. He concentrated on showing how the railroad industry worked and on the people who did the work. As part of another FSA project he visited Puerto Rico and settled there in 1946, becoming an important composer of serious Puerto Rican music, much of it derived from folk tunes.
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-USW36-623
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