Pittsburgh By Bus (1943)

"Put me down with people, and it's just overwhelming" - Esther Bubley, who captured Pittsburgh people riding the Greyhound bus

In September 1943, Esther Bubley (1921–1998), a photography graduate from the Minneapolis School of Art, photographed people riding the Greyhound bus in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Bubley was on assignment for the Office of War Information (OWI) in Washington D.C. Program director Roy Stryker despatched Bubley to cover everyday life on the country’s buses. Wartime restraints on gasoline and frequent troop movements meant more people than ever were taking the Greyhound. One ride took Bubley to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Greyhound bus station

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Greyhound bus station

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. People buying tickets at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. People buying tickets at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. People buying tickets at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. People buying tickets at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The waiting room at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The waiting room at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Clem Carson, a Greyhound bus driver, packing the suitcase which he takes with him on a run

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Clem Carson, a Greyhound bus driver, packing the suitcase which he takes with him on a run

 

Born in 1921, Esther Bubley was the fourth of five children of Louis and Ida Bubley, Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in northern Wisconsin. Although Louis later developed a successful auto parts business, the family struggled through the Depression with Ida helping to support the family by running a small-town general store. Esther’s interest in photography, which began in high school, developed in college during her two years at Superior State Teachers College and a third at the Minneapolis College of Art. In 1941 at age twenty, she ventured to New York City to become a professional photographer. After a brief stint at Vogue, she moved to Washington, D.C., where war-time jobs for women were plentiful, to shoot microfilm for the National Archives.

Bubley’s career was launched in the fall of 1942, when Roy Stryker hired her as a darkroom assistant at the Office of War Information (OWI), successor of his nationally renowned Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographic unit. With Stryker’s encouragement, she began photographing in Washington, and shortly thereafter, he sent her on assignment and contributed her photographs to the OWI files. In late 1943, when he left the government to set up a public relations project for Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) (SONJ), Stryker hired many OWI photographers, including Gordon Parks, John Vachon, and Bubley.

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus station

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus station

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus station

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus station

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A bus driver for the Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Incorporated

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A bus driver for the Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Incorporated

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Passengers in the waiting room of the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Checking brand numbers on new tires at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Checking brand numbers on new tires at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mechanic working on a rear axle housing at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mechanic working on a rear axle housing at the Greyhound garage

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Greyhound bus garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Greyhound bus garage

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mechanic at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mechanic at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A dispatcher in the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A dispatcher in the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baggage clerks at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baggage clerks at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A bus ready to leave the Greyhound terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A bus ready to leave the Greyhound terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A sign in the Greyhound bus terminal lunchroom

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A sign in the Greyhound bus terminal lunchroom

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baggage agents at the Greyhound bus terminal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baggage agents at the Greyhound bus terminal

Passengers on a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Passengers on a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Passengers on a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Passengers on a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Passengers leaving a Greyhound bus in a small town in Pennsylvania

Passengers leaving a Greyhound bus in a small town in Pennsylvania

Passengers waiting for a Greyhound bus driver to start loading them on the bus at a small town in Pennsylvania

Passengers waiting for a Greyhound bus driver to start loading them on the bus at a small town in Pennsylvania

Passengers standing in the aisle of a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Passengers standing in the aisle of a Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the women employees in the machine shop of the Greyhound garage working on a cylinder grinding machine

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the women employees in the machine shop of the Greyhound garage working on a cylinder grinding machine

Passengers on the Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some of which were standing all the way

Passengers on the Greyhound bus going from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some of which were standing all the way

Passengers who have struck up a friendship on a Greyhound bus enroute from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Saint Louis, Missouri telling moron jokes

Passengers who have struck up a friendship on a Greyhound bus enroute from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Saint Louis, Missouri telling moron jokes

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A charwoman who cleans buses at the Greyhound garage, a job formerly done by boys

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A charwoman who cleans buses at the Greyhound garage, a job formerly done by boys

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An air conditioned dormitory for the use of drivers who have layover time away from home, at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An air conditioned dormitory for the use of drivers who have layover time away from home, at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A charwoman who cleans buses sweeping the floor of a bus at the Greyhound garage

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A charwoman who cleans buses sweeping the floor of a bus at the Greyhound garage

 

Via Esther Bubley