By Pancho

One box of old negatives, scanned one at a time, posted once per day.


34 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 Patrick
    July 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Nathan,
    Wondering if I could use a couple of photos for a CD cover?


  2. September 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    hey – got here via an Endangered Durham mention, and wanted to say that (architecturally) most of the neighborhood shots are clearly around a mill town, with the textile mill buildings and water tower in the far background. These were all over the piedmont of NC, with proximity to Greensboro and Durham both. really fascinating!

    • September 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you!

      Yes, these photos were definitely taken in textile country, which central North Carolina was a center of during in the 1950’s. At first, I thought they were located in the Greensboro/High Point area. Only recently discovered it was Durham!

  3. 5 Peter
    September 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    The August 5, 2011 photo of “Motorcycle Mama” shows a building in the back ground of the Golden Belt Office Building in Durham. Gary may have already spotted it thus linking your photo diary to Endangered Durham. Either way, it’s great now knowing where these folks are from. Here is the link showing Golden Belt and the office building with its well defined architectural style.

    Kudos to you for making this public and I especially enjoy your labeling nuggets.

  4. 6 joshh
    March 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    This site is amazing. Thanks so much for all the hard work. It truly is amazing.

  5. August 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    A new found fan here also, a cracking site, I will be back frequently! Thanks Nathan!

  6. October 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Fascinating project you are undertaking. Glad to have found you. Will be sure to drop by regularly now.

  7. October 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    your photos have made me happy today! can i use some on my blog at all, pls?

  8. 14 Rene Marzuk
    November 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Awesome project!

  9. 16 elmediat
    January 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Enjoy your blog. A very intriguing set of posts. I may eventually be asking for scanning tips. I am presently going through photos and negatives from my parents (1930 – 1950’s). I have added your blog under my art, design & Society blog roll.

  10. 17 Natalie
    November 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Hello – I just found this website and am fascinated. I did some searching on and found that in the 1930 census, Owen W. Allen, Vivien, Owen Jr. and Alton also lived with Thelma Ray (23, widowed, described as lodger), Nellie M. Ray (age 6), and Marie/Merie Ray (4). I believe I read somewhere that Alton’s middle name is Ray, so probably they were relatives. Owen Sr.’s middle name was Washington and he died at home in Durham as a widower. It looks like Vivien died in Durham in May 1986. I’m still searching on Owen Jr. and Alton. It looks like Thelma married Herbert Morris. In the 1940 census, Herbert worked at a tobacco factory, and they had children Faye J. Morris (7), Jerry V. Morris (3), in addition to Nellie and Marie.

  11. 18 Natalie
    November 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    A few more pieces… In the 1927 Durham directory, Owen is listed as a mill hand residing at 1308 Angler Ave, and his wife is Vivian spelled with an “a.” In the 1942 Durham directory, they live at 210 Laurel, and there is “3” after Vivien’s name, so maybe they had three children? In the 1948 Durham directory, they lived at 214 Laurel, and Owen’s occupation was “tex wkr,” and wife is “Vivian B.” This directory also says that he worked at Durham Hosiery Mills.

  12. 19 Natalie
    November 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Perhaps Owen’s address at date of death was 1917 Edgerton Dr, Durham, NC, 27703 but it’s not really clear what the record is that’s citing this. There is a WWII draft registration card for Edgar Owen Allen, dob June 28, 1927, place of birth Durham NC, “name and address of person who will always know your address” listed as “Vivian Allen, 210 Lauren Street, Durham, NC (mother)>” The card lists this address as Edgar Owen’s as well, and his place of employment is Johnson Motor Company, East Main Street, Durham NC. In the 1954 Durham city directory, “Owen Allen” was a painter for Matthews and Farrow living at 706 May Rd with no wife listed. Same listing in the 1957 directory. In the same page on the 1957 directory, “O.W.” has the same address and is listed as a textile worker for Durham Hosiery Mills. In 1960, “O.W. Allen” is a tender for Durham Hosiery Mills with address RD 4 Box 301C, and there is no mention of another Owen or spouse.

  13. 20 Natalie
    November 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    If “Edgar Owen Allen” is the same man in the photos, he died on Nov 11, 2004, at home in Durham NC, with burial in state He was listed as married and highest education level 12th grade. He has an obituary at FindAGrave “He is survived by his wife, Lela McDaniel Allen; one son, Stewart Ray and wife, Patty of Youngsville; two brothers, Robert Alton Allen of Durham and Charles Louis Allen of Wilmington; two grandchildren, Robert Reid Ray and Tracie Ray Lane; one great-grandchild, Kayla Marie Lane.
    Mr. Allen retired from Hendricks Chevrolet in Chapel Hill. He was a member of Gospel Church. “

  14. 21 Natalie
    November 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    There is supposed to be an obituary in the Harold-Sun newspaper mentioning the following people: Charles Allen Louis
    Tracie Lane Ray
    Vivian Allen Barbee
    Robert Allen Alton
    Lela Allen McDaniel
    Freddie Partin
    Lam Johnson Sr.
    Kayla Lane Marie
    Stewart Ray
    Owen Allen Washington
    Robert Ray Reid

    and the following locations:

    Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill
    Youngsville, Youngsville
    Durham, Durham
    Wilmington, Wilmington

    Unfortunately, I cannot access it.

    It would be incredible if you were able to show the family these photos!

    • November 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Wow, Natalie!!! You went above and beyond in your research! Thank you very, very much!

      Wish I’d had access to back when I was still doing this project. Probably could have found out some of the info you uncovered a long time ago. Tried to do some digging on, but didn’t have a lot of luck.

      You say “Edgar Owen Allen” died in 2004? I bought the box full of negatives at a flea market a few years after that. I’d had them about a year before I started this blog. I’ll check out his Find-A-Grave link and see if I can maybe find someone who can ID the people in the photos.

      Again, thank you very, very much!!

  15. 23 Natalie
    November 23, 2014 at 12:04 am

    You are most welcome. I was thinking about how search options get better all the time. Thank you for scanning all the photos! They were incredible. I can email you the draft card if you’d like.

    • November 23, 2014 at 11:01 am

      I would appreciate that! Also, can you send me the link to Edgar’s Find-A-Grave obit? I tried to find it, but couldn’t.

      • 25 Natalie
        November 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm


        Attached please find the two draft cards and a page from the 1948 Durham directory.


      • 26 Natalie
        November 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

        Hello – my last name is showing up – can you remove it please?

        On Sun, Nov 23, 2014 at 3:49 PM, Natalie .Popovic wrote:

        > Hello, > > Attached please find the two draft cards and a page from the 1948 Durham > directory. > > Natalie > > On Sun, Nov 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM, Flea Market Photo Box <

      • November 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm

        Done! Not sure why that happened.

  16. 28 Natalie
    November 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Hello – the FindAGrave link is I also found a 1948 Durham directory with two listings at 214 Lauren: “Owen E” a painter at Matthews and Farrow, with wife “Billie B,” and “Owen W” a textile worker at Durham Hosiery Mills with wife “Vivian B.” Owen W has an “h” designation and Owen E has an “r” designation – maybe for head of household and renter?

    I found NC death notice for “Emma Vivian Allen” / “Emma Vivian B” who died at age 77 on April 30, 1987, dob June 24, 1909. She died in Durham at a rest home and was buried in state.

    A 1940 WWII draft card for Owen Washington Allen given an address as 210 Laurel St, Durham NC, and the person who will always know his address is wife, “Mrs. Vivian Emma Allen.” Owen Jr’s draft card was from 1944. I have emailed both to you, so please let me know if you do not receive them.

    And I think that’s it!

  17. 32 Natalie
    November 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Oh that will be fun to know. 🙂

  18. 33 Michael Neal
    September 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Hi, Nathan. In searching for artworks and photography by my cousin Robert Alton Allen, I discovered your blog. I have added some comments to many photos of members of my family. My email address is available, too, and perhaps I can fill in some gaps. I look forward to hearing from you via email.

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