Christopher Bazil: Visual Resources

April 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

NorthDakotaSearsHouse2      028r

This week I looked at visual resources. Using the advice of our awesome guest speaker, Luke Habberstad, I ventured into the Library of Congress abyss. Linking through OskiCat to the “American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library,” I discovered some really cool stuff about Sears homes of the 1910’s.

As some of you may or may not know, finding documentation and histories of Sears Kit Homes (that are not from the Sears Company), is extremely rare. Nearly all of the visual resources for this subject are stock photos that had once been used in the various “Modern Homes” catalogs. To my surprise, I found a small, yet rich, archive of photos from a single family farm that had built a Sears bungalow as their home.

From the photo’s tags, we know that the home was a Sears kit house assembled in Fullerton, North Dakota in 1917. A sparse farm, the picture suggests that the family was just starting out, using the Sears home as both the focal point of the farm, and possibly as a symbol of middle class social status and living standards.

A second photo dated 1973 shows the home from the exact same view as the 1917 photo. This second photo shows a fully matured landscape, with the same Sears bungalow sitting gracefully in the background. It is really hard to believe that these two photos are of the same house; but I promise you, they are. There is so much that could be said about these two photos, and I am excited to have found them.

Chris

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