Farm Photo Archive Sprouts in South Jersey

Agriculture is still a big deal down in South Jersey. My own grandfather used to raise Black Angus cattle on the acreage that is now Medford Memorial Middle School. That’s just one of the reasons why I think it’s really cool that the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has recently made more than 2,000 vintage farm photos available through its online archives.

The collection, which comprises individually scanned images from the department’s physical archives, is a rich and varied time capsule that documents farming in the Garden State from the 1930s through the late 1970s; a few of the photos date back to the late 19th century. The archive contains everything from aerial shots of enormous farmland tracts to the more intimate moments of sepia-toned apple pickers, fur traders and commercial fishermen. The site’s detailed search fields allow you to look up images by key words and criteria like date and location.

These 2,000-plus photos are just the beginning. According to the department’s website, a total of 7,160 exist in the state’s physical archives, and the hope is that every shot will eventually be scanned and saved online. Visitors to the website can continually check back for updates and to even purchase physical prints of their own. If you are at all interested in New Jersey’s history (particularly of the pastoral type) set aside an hour or so and start digging in.

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