Spotlight: Eggs through the Ages

The annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn – a longstanding American tradition.

Easter Egg Roll, White House Lawn. Ca. 1942 (RG 69-GU)

Maybe you’re planning to hunt them down, dye them brilliantly, roll them across the White House Lawn – or maybe you’re just hoping to get through the next two weeks with as few boiled eggs in your life as humanly possible. Whatever the case may be, it is hard to deny the importance eggs have in our diets year round. But where do these eggs come from before they reach our tables, our plates, and our lawns? Check out the story of eggs, as told by these 1920’s through the 1950’s images from the Department of Agriculture: RG 16-G.


First, eggs had to be gathered from the hens and hen houses.


Next, the eggs would be processed. This involved cleaning, weighing, checking to be sure no little chickens were growing within, grading, sorting, and packaging for distribution.


Once processed and ready for purchase, the eggs had to make it to market! Sometimes they were shipped to stores or purchased at auction, sometimes they were sold door-to-door or purchased direct from the farmers, sometimes they were sold at local markets or collected through co-ops.


But regardless of where they came from, eggs were – and continue to be – eggceptionally important.

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One thought on “Spotlight: Eggs through the Ages

  1. Which came first the chicken or the egg? I love the photo of the hordes milling about on the White House lawn. Couldn’t do that today. When I see the baskets of eggs I can’t help but think about Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke!

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