After leaving New Orleans, the Special Media Division headed west towards Texas. Photographs of the Lone Star State can be found in records related to the Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, as well as the Bureau of Public Roads, NASA, and many others. On this road trip, however, we decided to take the archival road less traveled and look in the Records of the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine.
As is often the case, the road less traveled was full of unexpected finds. In this case those discoveries came in a small series titled, Photographs of Cotton Insects. The majority of images in this series appear to be gelatin dry plate negatives taken in the early decades of the 20th century.
While the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine was primarily interested in the boll weevil, an invasive insect that feeds on cotton, the photographs also provide a human perspective to the rural farmlands. There are a number of striking images in this small series, many of which highlight the difficult and unsafe conditions affecting individuals working the land. A sample of images from this series can be viewed below:
Note: In addition to photographs from Texas, this series also contained images from Louisiana and Arizona. In some instances the location was not indicated in the original caption. This series has been digitized in full and will be available on the National Archives Catalog in the coming weeks.