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Sign of an employment agency specializing in recruiting laborers for out-of-state agricultural work. Corpus Christi, Texas.

About Corpus Christi

Russell Lee took 340 photographs throughout Corpus Christi in April 1949. During one of his trips, Lee accompanied Dr. Hector Garcia on medical rounds through the barrios. In another series of photographs, Lee shows the intimacy of home healthcare and how families coped with tuberculosis. During the time of Lee's visit to Corpus Christi, the county had registered over 8,000 cases of tuberculosis.

Two other series of photographs focus on labor agents as they sign up and dispatch men to the beet fields in Michigan, and on the reburial services for a WWII soldier killed in action. The photographs likely represent the reburial of Corporal Theodore Esquivel, whose services were announced in the Friday, April 22, 1949 issue of the Corpus Christi Caller. The obituary informs us that Esquivel had been killed in action in Belgium four years before.

An unusual set of portraits detail the work of Mexican-American commercial fishermen and shrimpers. Always with an eye toward fixing time and place, Lee captured a newspaper stand that hints at the date of one of his visits. The issue of the Corpus Christi Caller on display at the newsstand is dated Friday, April 8, 1949. Some readers may recognize the Tex-Mex Newsstand, La Malinche tortilla factory, Estrada Motor Sales, and the second-hand shop at 2218 Agnes. Images of the Presbyterian Church and of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church may also be of interest.

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