Patenting Illustration Ideas: Not!

Dear Rich: I am in the process of illustrating a book for a friend. I had some ideas about the illustrations and my friend said she would have to patent it right away. This is my idea, so shouldn't I patent it? Should we do it together? How do I go about getting a patent for my illustration ideas? We recently learned that 82% of our blog visitors are coming for the first time. Hmmm...Perhaps that's why we get so many questions from people asking about whether they can dress as Spiderman for children's parties or use Lindsay Lohan quotes at their website. Any of our regular readers (18% or less of our viewers) already know that book illustrations are not protected by patents ... and that copyright doesn't protect ideas. So how do we answer this question without boring our regulars? Uh ... We'll have to think about that ...
Right, you had a question. Although the Dear Rich staff once co-wrote a book about patenting art and entertainment and although we love our co-author's attempts at carving new worlds of patent protection, we can safely say that there is no way you can patent illustrations used in a book. You can, however, acquire copyright in the illustrations. And unless you are an employee, or you signed away rights, or you are co-authoring the book with your friend, you will likely retain the complete copyright to the illustrations without having to do anything. As for your "ideas," for illustrations, we're not sure what you mean but in general ideas can't be protected by copyright.

The Love List

I'm loving...

this use of beadboard in a laundry room

this collection of milk glass

(with daybed and trundle - perfect inspiration for Chloe's big girl room!)

Bonne Chance

I found this via A Cup of Jo and I can't stop watching it. The dreamy French melody, that pale orange lipstick, and her bright smile are enough to make me want to buy every single thing in J. Crew. Lucky for me, I'm about five feet from the beauty closet and approximately ten seconds away from poaching a citrusy lipstick like hers. Full disclosure: I also want to spin around in my underwear with some Charlotte Gainsbourg in the background.




Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus): photo by Andreas Trepte, 2010

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, pride, plume, here...-- G. M. Hopkins

The poet who reveled in the stooping of the raptor among reaches and crags
upon the wing of the wind

embraced the will in the scream of the plummeting Peregrine, the Greater Will,
the whim
of a beloved brutal and violent predator God --

praised out of silence lord dauphin chevalier and master,
sang flight terror
in the Merlin's glide, saw Christ in the dip of the Kestrel, knew love

in the Gyrfalcon's Sturzkampfflugzeug swoop and

wild updraft soaring out of stony nested shade
over tarn and lake -- sensed startled cry of prey, felt hearts
race, heard
sharp fear music from faroff in the instant of speechless prayer

before the inevitable Kill -- and then the fade

back to mere word language my heart in hiding
stirred --
from bird augury and violence in the realm
of the parahuman
the gods have always been made.

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Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) in flight, west of Hastings, Minnesota: photo by Derek Bakken, 2006

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Merlin (Falco columbarius) pair fighting over prey, Auburn, New York
: photo by Bear Golden Retriever, 2010

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Merlin (Falco columbarius) pair fighting over prey, Auburn, New York: photo by Bear Golden Retriever, 2010

Merlin (Falco columbrius columbarius) hunting a Northern Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata bromia), Mount Auburn Cemetery,
: photo by John Harrison, 2008

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Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) in a dive: photo by Steve-B, 2006

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Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) in flight, Morro Bay, California: photo by Kevin Cole, 2008

The Emperor's Attendant


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The Persian emperor who had once been defeated in battle by Athens now required an attendant to accompany him at all times, to help him combat fatigue and discouragement and restore his taste for battle by murmuring night and day, "Lord, remember the Athenians." The mere words were enough to awaken the old feeling. This custom of the emperor persisted long after his reasons for going to war with the Athenians had faded from his mind. But his distaste for conflict remained a secret known only to his loyal attendant, who was forever whispering into his ear the prescribed urgings. The emperor seldom slept, the attendant even more rarely.

A new campaign began but the emperor barely noticed, for him things continued as they had been. Even when the fever of battle was sweeping over everyone around him, he felt himself strangely detached, as if standing, fully dressed in his battle armour, his bright war pennants unfurled brilliantly before him, well apart.

Then one night when a ground fog had crept over the camp, the tents were enveloped in silence, and the distant fires of the Athenians could hardly be made out through the mists that cloaked everything -- or, perhaps, it may have been on a night at sea in the Straits that this happened, and it was the distant lights of the enemy ships that were dimmed -- a peaceful moment befell the contending armies -- or fleets.

And the emperor's attendant drifted off to sleep.

It was as if something within the world had shifted, in that moment. There then prevailed a period of peace between the Persians and the Athenians.

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US Navy sailors in motor launch rescue a survivor alongside the sunken battleship USS West Virginia during the Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor, 7 December, 1941: photo by US Navy
Torpedo exploding on USS Wast Virginia at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, seen from attacking Japanese plane: photo by Japanese Navy Ministry

A Trip on the Santa Fe


Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Passing a section house along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Encino vicinity, New Mexico, March 1943

The heavy industries that built and shaped our lives are dying
The sights and sounds now but memories of their once throbbing rituals
That echo and reflect their death throes
In retrospect
A pall of absence hangs over things
Yet time continues to move forward
Along the rusted tracks and corroded rails
Around blind corners
Through a labyrinth of empty corridors

We've perhaps been here
We will never be back
The tracks go on unscrolling
And we go on following the tracks
These endless parallels endlessly unravelling

A flagman
A pale glimmering signal light
Against the deep blue of the sky
Space drifts
We move forward as a scroll is unscrolled
There is no turning back
The pale glimmering of a signal
A level crossing
The stark figure of a man
He holds up one arm
As if beckoning
We pass another level crossing
Time floats
We follow the tracks
Iron rusting under snow
The tracks continue on toward infinity
And a vanishing point
Debris of a past cluttered with activity and use

Oblique lines do bend and may greet but parallels though infinite may never meet
Rust covers everything an iron blight of time oxidizing
The past
We won't be back this way again soon
We were never really here so how can it be we're leaving
The blight of time an irony corroding what we've left behind

Time that is the ghostly material medium in which we think and act
Compelled onward yet never knowing where we're going
Turned aside, derailed, misled, diverted, confused, disoriented, finally lost
Time continues to grind on as long as we keep breathing

The world of time through which we travel which we have made and which has made us
Has only one direction
And one speed
This speed
And one destination

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Santa Fe Railroad freight train about to leave for the West Coast, Corwith yard, Chicago, Illinois, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Re-tiring a locomotive drive wheel, Santa Fe Railroad shops, Shopton, Iowa: the tire is heated by means of gas until it can be slipped over the wheel; contraction will hold it firmly in shape, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Servicing engines at coal and sand chutes at Argentine Yard, Santa Fe Railroad, Kansas City, Kansas, March 1943

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Santa Fe Railroad locomotive shops, Topeka, Kansas, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Yardmaster in Santa Fe Railroad yards, Amarillo, Texas, March 1943

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Grain elevators along the route of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

A completely overhauled engine on the transfer table at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad locomotive shops, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Santa Fe Railroad train near Melrose, New Mexico, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Santa Fe Railroad near Melrose, New Mexico, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Flagman standing at a distance behind a Santa Fe westbound freight train during a stop, Bagdad, California, March 1943

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Mojave Desert country, crossed by the Santa Fe Railroad, Cadiz, California

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Activity in Santa Fe Railroad yard, Los Angeles, California: all switch lights, head lights and lamps have been shaded from above in accordance with blackout regulations; the heavy light streaks are caused by paths of locomotive headlights and the thin lines by lamps of switchmen working in the yards, March 1943

Folks around these parts get the time of day
From the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe
-- Johnny Mercer, 1944

Photos by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Master Bedroom: Rad Cover and Sconces

A few more bits and pieces of the master bedroom to show you...
Here's the radiator cover HandyMan made. This is the third one he's made and I think its the best one yet. He tried to complement the style of the paneling we have in the bedroom by using similar trims. I especially like the look of the feet... the cutouts near the base make the cover look a little less heavy and massive in the space.

And a few photos of the one bedside sconce (Wyatt sconce from Pottery Barn) we have installed. My American cousin finally came for a visit and dropped it off. It was worth the wait :)

Luckily the scale and size of the sconce was just as I hoped. It looks good on the little platform thingy we added in the paneling. I really like the warm dark metal against the creamy wall. Its nice and sturdy too. On some sconces I've seen, the arms feel flimsy and the dials lose their tension and don't hold the adjustable arms in place. These ones lock nice and tight and don't seem to sag at all.

We haven't installed the second sconce yet because Chloe's crib is still in our room...and we have to dismantle it to get it out of the room... and then we can install the sconce... and then we can hang up some art... and then we can take some pictures... and then we can finally reveal the room to you all. Just in case you were wondering.

Great Grandpa's Termination: Patents (and Copyrights)

Dear Rich: I have recently come across a patent filed by my Great Grandfather, and believe that the device may still be in use. How can I find out if I am owed royalties on the sale of this tool.
Let's see, we start with the rule that patents granted before June 8, 1995 terminate 17 years from the date of issue; those filed on or after June 8, 1995 terminate 20 years after the filing date.
How old is great grand-dad? Okay, here's where  the Dear Rich Staff needs to get out its calculator. If you're old enough to write us a letter, we're going to guess, you're at least 20, which means you were born by 1990. We'll guess your parents were at least 20 when they had you (so they were born at the earliest, around 1970). That puts your grandparents birth at 1950 and your great-grandparents at the earliest at 1930. (Of course, if much of this kind of  supposing is silly since these estimations are also tied to child bearing ages and of course, that differs dramatically for men and women). Okay, so if your great grandfather was born as late as 1930, it's possible that if he invented something in his sixties (say after 1992), it might still have patent protection. More likely, everybody in your family is older than our lowball estimate and Great Grandpa's patent terminated long ago. 
Does patent termination mean you don't get royalties? A license agreement for a patent should not extend beyond the life of the patent. However, it is sometimes possible to continue to receive royalties for non-patent license purposes--for example, to license a trademark or perhaps certain trade secrets associated with the invention. (Note, even these agreements are sometimes not enforced.) We're guessing this is all very hypothetical in your case and it's unlikely you are owed anything, but you will need to see the original agreements to confirm or deny that possibility.
Speaking of terminations. We keep waiting for someone to ask us a question about copyright termination so that we can link to this copyright termination calculator created by one of our readers. Check it out if you're attempting to evaluate the status of copyright termination rights.

Sniffing out dog treat logo trademark

Dear Rich: I have a question about a logo for my business. I just started a dog treat business and loved a public domain clip art picture of a dog. I flipped the picture, changed the color, added some shading on his ear, added hearts above his head and grass under his feet. I added my logo, too. I found the original image on the WP Clipart web site. I emailed the site author with a copy of my changes and asked if since it was public domain, could I use it commercially. He said yes. I am now wanting to trademark or copyright my logo. If so which one do I do: a trademark or copyright? The Dear Rich Staff -- who is wondering why we're getting so many dog-related questions these days -- reports that if you want to preserve the exclusive right to use this image with your dog treats, you'll need to (1) start using it in connection with the sale of your treats (that is, on the packaging or in the advertising) and then, if you have the  budget, you should file a federal trademark registration. Assuming the image is truly public domain (and it looks that way from the source website), then the coast is clear. Keep in mind that anyone else can use the same dog as their trademark, as long as it is does not compete with you in the field of pet food and dog treats. As for copyright, you have a copyright in the version of the dog you created although anyone else is free to use the original without infringing your dog. By the way (insert FTC disclaimer), our employer is one of the few websites to offer help for dog owners and trademark owners.

Sweet Dreams

I heard about this sweet little blog on twitter. You must check it out. It is simply adorable.

New mama Adele envisions what her little Mila dreams about and brings it to life in these fanciful scenes. I marvel at Adele's creativity... and am envious that she has a little one that sleeps so soundly.


I'm also blogging about this here. That's my new blog - Little Folk Design - about all things kid - design, parties, rooms, toys. I come across so many lovely images and products for children that I wanted to put them in one place. So rather than put them here (when what you're really looking for are Before & After photos and posts about our latest renovation) I thought I'd put them there. I might be a little crazy, trying to maintain two blogs, we'll see how it goes.

Scale: John Vachon


Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Seed and feed store, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942

Middle America in the time just before and on into the early years of the War: this is the world into which I was born, in which I spent my childhood. In memory, it remains familiar to me, and has a scale I am able to recognize.

I say that world remains familiar to me in memory. But memory is a notoriously fleeting faculty, requiring, latterly, a bit of prompting. The photos here work for me as prompts. They take me back to that gone world, and perhaps even help to create the memories.

The photographer John Vachon (1914-1975) left his native Minnesota in 1936 to attend college in Washington, D.C., but within a year had dropped out of school and gone to work for the Farm Security Administration. At the time FSA director Roy Stryker was assembling a crew of the finest photographers in the country, their mission to document the lives of common working people and rural poor around a Depression-stricken America. Vachon, with no prior training in photography, began at FSA as a messenger, later became a filing clerk and fell into taking pictures out of a curiosity bred of proximity.

"John came [to Washington] to go to Catholic University," Stryker recalled in a 1963 Smithsonian oral history interview. "Got into some trouble down there because he was curious about the world about him and didn't attend classes. Finally wound up as a messenger in our place. I needed a librarian -- John was out doing filing and messenger work, and I asked him if he'd like to take it. And he took it over and became very successful at it."

Encouraged by one of most famous of the FSA photographers, Ben Shahn, Vachon borrowed a Leica and on weekends began snapping shots around the Potomac River valley. "I came back from vacation once -- I'[d] never had an assistant down there, but I came back and John had taken to loading one of our cameras," Stryker remembered. "He'd gone off on a walking tour and came back with some surprisingly good pictures. Later on it became apparent that John should quit the filing and become a photographer, and he turned [out] to be a superbly good one. He's what I have said many times is the only 'congenital photographer' that I ever realized we had."

With the loan of equipment from Stryker and under the tutelage of FSA photographers Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans, Vachon took on his first solo traveling assignments for the agency in the fall of 1937 in Nebraska.

In a 1973 interview Vachon looked back on this period as the time of his true birth in the art he would practice for the FSA until its dissolution in 1943 and later as a photojournalist at Life and Look (where he would work for for 25 years, until its demise in 1971). He had been sent to work in Omaha, but given no list of specific subjects. He was on his own.

I spent a cold November week in Omaha and walked a hundred miles. Was it Kearney Street where unemployed men sat all day on the steps of cheap hotels? A tattoo parlor, and the city mission with its soup kitchen. Men hanging around the stockyards. One morning I photographed a grain elevator: pure sun-brushed silo columns of cement rising from behind CB&Q freight car. The genius of Walker Evans and Charles Sheeler welded into one supreme photographic statement, I told myself. Then it occurred to me that it was I who was looking at the grain elevator. For the past year I had been sedulously aping the masters. And in Omaha I realized that I had developed my own style with the camera. I knew that I would photograph only what pleased me or astonished my eye, and only in the way I saw it.

He quickly developed that style of his own. And over the next several years ranged afield across the interior of the country, working out of various FSA regional offices at the standard $5-a-day salary also drawn by his more experienced colleagues Shahn, Evans, Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Carl Mydans, et al.

Samples of the photos that resulted from Vachon's odyssey can be seen here and in the two preceding posts. They capture the image of an America that is, for all intents and purposes, lost.

I say lost; yet then again some essence of what John Vachon saw in his travels, in those years of austerity, perhaps remains. His photographs seem to identify a trace in the American grain, a vein of lonely spaces, material emptinesses and great spiritual distances. But his eye can be hard and gentle in the same moment. He sees darknesses that go deep within the interiors of the common places, yet explores these depths dispassionately: as though they were merely surfaces, without judgment. The evident absence of judgment has made it difficult to classify Vachon as a social historian with a direct political intent. There is in his work a surprising affection for this vacant heartland.

And that element perhaps accounts for the paradoxical intimacy of scale, which brilliantly solicits the historical imagination.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Grand Grocery Co., Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942

Photos by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Something Occurring by the Side of a Road


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Children playing by road near school house, Kansas (?), c. 1942

I Hide and Seek

Along the roadside it appeared the children might have been playing a game of hide and seek. Passing cars slowed down as the people strained to see what these children were doing, kneeling with their heads hidden beneath folded arms, or lying motionless as if playing dead by the shoulder of the road. At a quick glance it looked as though they might have been hit by cars. But the bodies were scattered at a certain distance apart. The impression that they were playing a game was in the mind of the beholder, it was possible this was a misinterpretation. A theory of games is not the same thing as a game; in order to understand the progression of a game it is not necessary to have a game theory. If it is possible to make a false move in some game, then it might be possible for someone to make nothing but false moves in every game. The person passing along on the road would have no idea.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Road out of Romney, West Virginia,1942/3

II History Lesson

The Sunray man wearing the spectral white face of carbon black may not after all be a visitor from a scorched and vacant dead world beyond our solar system. You whistled soundlessly in the sleepless dark and he came, as in a dimly remembered children's game.

When you played hide and seek there was a secret excitement hidden within the game, the private knowledge that, should you be lost, it was he who lay in waiting, he who would find you.

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Worker at carbon black plant, Sunray, Texas, 1942

III But Then

in the hard white northern distance of the clouded morning the school bell tolled.

The child who was found in the game of hide and seek discovered he did not know the language that was being spoken by the other children. He may well have known some other language or languages, but the babbling going on around him in the here and now, that to him seemed a mystery, a bafflement.

Behind every tree in the immediate vicinity of the confused child was concealed another bewildering uncertainty. Branching off in several directions from the point where he stood a labyrinth of conflicting paths beckoned equivocally. And so it seemed to the child he had no choice but to hold perfectly still and remain completely silent. It is at this point that from behind the nearest tree emerges the waiting figure.

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Landscape, Northeast Utah, April 1942

Photos by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

Will copyright protect my imaginary friend?

Dear Rich: I am writing a children's book based on the imaginary and not so imaginary friends my children had growing daughter's imaginary friend and my son's stuffed dog. The stuffed dog had a name embroidered on it but my son never referred to the dog by that name. He gave it a different name. So in my book I refer to the dog using the name my son used. I had drawn a picture of the dog years ago and had it framed in my son's room when he was young (he's 38 now). I want to give the illustrator that picture so he can use it as a guide for drawing this dog in the book. Would that be any kind of copyright infringement? I wondered if I could have the name tag show the name my son used for his dog rather than the real one. Actually this stuffed dog looked pretty much like Snoopy but in different colors. I assume there was no copyright or patent problem since both of these stuffed animals are sold in stores. The one I'm using was not sold for many years but has recently been re-introduced online. I would not be using a photo of this stuffed dog. The illustration in the book will be modeled after my drawing of this dog.
 You can probably go ahead with your plans. You might run into a problem if you copied Snoopy and Snoopy's owner saw your book and thought your dog drawings were rip-offs. But that presumes a lot of things, including the fact that the stuffed dog is Snoopy or whether it is instead one of hundreds of other stuffed dogs that may or may not be copyrightable. In any case, whatever you can do to distinguish your drawings from the stuffed dog will help -- remember not every cartoon beagle is Snoopy and not every cartoon mouse is Mickey. As for swapping the names, that's more of a trademark than a copyright issue, but it depends on a similar question -- are consumers likely to be confused between the two dogs?
In conclusion. All in all, the meter is leaning in your favor on all of the above. Re: your statement, "I assume there was no copyright or patent problem since both of these stuffed animals sold in stores." We're not sure what you meant exactly, but buying something doesn't give you a right to copy it. You probably knew that but just sayin'.

I'm No Stylist

source unknown

Do you ever come across a photo of a bookcase styled so perfectly, with every object existing in perfect harmony with all others that you wonder 'how did they do that'? I do, often. Styling objects and creating beautiful vignettes doesn't come easy to me. I'm not a good collector, I'm too impulsive to accumulate a nice collection of depression glassware or ceramic animals or vintage plates so my accessories drawer is filled with ones and twos of things - things that don't go with other things.

I had to give it a go though and create a vignette atop the dresser in the master bedroom. (Yes, the bedroom that we started redecorating months ago. Its almost done and I'll reveal soon). So I walked about the house and gathered bits and bobs, pieces and props. And this is what I came up with:

Looks like a simple arrangement, right? Yeah, it took me a few tries to get it looking like that.

11 different iterations and I'm still not sure any of them look any good. But I ended up settling on one anyway. At least that part of the room is done :)



Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Wisdom, Montana, April 1942

Triumph of the Will
over the contingent
and the incidental
Wisdom, Montana
April 1942
everything we could view
looked large
and nearly empty
John Vachon's vision
of an arid

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Cemetery at edge of Romney, West Virginia, 1942

Lincoln, Nebraska
forty days
without a

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942

Photos by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

At the Fair (I): Pie Town


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Saying grace before the barbecue at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

Those who hunger shall be fed, and drink shall come to the thirsty, he said. Here no woman or man stands above another woman or man. The head of the lowest child here brushes against the sky.

From the crest the spine of the land runs out from peak to peak as, unflagging, through the passes, under the huge stars, a grey wolf moves, in pursuit of an exhausted isolated sheep.

Past and present run down and away on both sides. Just before sunrise the world seems to wobble slightly on its axis. The declining clauses in the personal stories -- lost trust and belief, home, job, farm -- mercifully escape under cover of darkness, as fugitive parts from a collapsing sentence. Scrambling down the western slope through scrub juniper and pine, dislodged rocks clattering ahead, while behind to the East, over the top of the ridge, there returns the light.

A timepiece on a chain in a city lawyer's coat pocket. The days go by. Things were lost, we were broken apart and separated. The names of the places where we had once lived stopped bringing back memories. Then again it seemed our own names too were past recollection. Still we found one another, or were found. With nothing left to speak of as our own we were welcomed and accepted. There was something to eat and drink for everyone at the fair.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Serving pinto beans at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair barbecue: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

There are men of a valley who are that valley
, he said. Down there below the children shall be taken.

But we did not wish to hark back. Our original homes were not so pleasant as to make us wish to remember them. The names of the places are but vacant sounds to us now. There is not time for remembering, we can but attend to this day.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Homesteader and his children eating barbecue at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

Grey wolves move in the hills above our homesteads at night. We hear their songs. The New World is already old.

The piƱon, sage and juniper. The scrub stands of ponderosa pine, the sharp aromatic air of the Divide, so high above the world.

The hours before dawn when time is a sprung clock, stuck on the instant of concluding the execution of an unremitting contract.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family, Pie Town, New Mexico : photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

There are men whose words are as natural sounds without location, lost,

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Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico : photo by Russell Lee, September 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

but the natural sounds of the women and their children

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School is held at Farm Bureau Building, Pie Town, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)

are the sounds of the places they have found.

So you found one another, or were found, with nothing left to speak of as your own you were welcomed and accepted, he says. There was something to eat and drink for everyone at the fair.

Those who have been here a while, though, lingering, seem to wear expressions of concern. Perhaps it's that they fear nothing has actually been promised us. We might not be able to stay on here after all.

Still they walk the roads in the evening, bare headed, hands now and then touching, saying little to one another, as the clouds gather, with the sun going down.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Main Street, Pie Town, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, October 1940 (Farm Security Administration/Library of Congress)