In May 1942, during World War 2, the town of Southington in Connecticut was selected by the US War Department to be featured in a defence pamphlet called Southington, CT—Microcosm of America. At that time in the war the small, farm-based town had a population at just under 10,000. Of that 10,000, according to the Southington Observer 1,591 residents were serving in World War II. Having worked for Life, Fortune, and U.S. Camera magazines, the talented Charles Fenno Jacobs was chosen to photograph the small town to capture the essence of daily life in America.
The publication was intended to show friends and foes alike in Europe the typical American citizens and families, their traditions and values. Thousands of copies were dropped from military airplanes over Europe during the Nazi German Occupation.
The hand salute that the children are giving is called The Bellamy Salute, created by Francis Bellamy to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he wrote in 1892. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the “flag salute”. In the 1920s and 1930s Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a similar salute mistakenly thinking the Romans used a similar gesture. Unsurprisingly it was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.
An extraordinary colourised version of the original photograph by Colorizing History Each magazine was researched and coloured accurately. Worth having a look.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection
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