[Hastings, Fl. ca. 1920s]. Two volumes. Eighteen sepia-toned photographs, each approximately 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches. Oblong quarto. Contemporary black leatherette, all photographs linen-backed and bound in on stubs. Mild shelf wear. Photographs in excellent condition. Item #WRCAM54681
A very interesting pair of photo albums with large-format images featuring African- American field workers and other manual laborers working for Superior Brand New Potatoes in Florida in the early 20th century. The photographs were professionally produced by the Higginbotham Photo Company of Dallas, Texas, with their paper label affixed to the inside front cover of each album. Ten of the eighteen photographs feature African- American laborers in the fields, on tractors, posed outside the processing area, or on trucks loading freight trains. Of the ten photographs, four are unique examples and three are present in duplicate. In addition to the African-American workers, several shots feature poor white laborers processing potatoes, including one shot of workers using a Boggs Potato Grader.
Hastings became the "Potato capital of Florida" in the early 1900s after Thomas Horace Hastings established a 1,569-acre plantation to grow winter vegetables. Soon he switched to potatoes, and by 1917 he enjoyed great success. Hastings remains an important agricultural center today, serving as the packing and shipping center for a tri- county consortium of potato farmers, with farms that also produce cabbage, onions, eggplant, and other vegetables.