Joshua Tree, 1940

Found photo

Those strange shaggy bushes in the background are Joshua Trees, native to the Mojave Desert.  According to the writing on the back, this photo was taken in Joshua Tree, California in 1940s.  In those days, the plants were plentiful.  Rising heat from climate change have driven them up to higher elevations today.  And in another sign of the times, what used to be a quiet desert town has now been taken over by Air BnBs, pricing local residents out of housing. 

These two older women appear to be investigating local flora and fauna.  Something—shells? fossils? flowers?—is in their hands.  At first glance, their outfits are unexceptional–dark suits and dresses with sensible shoes. However, a closer look reveals elements that appear to be inspired by military uniforms. Just a little searching showed that the woman on the right wears what looks like a Salvation Army uniform. Compare her shoulder and neck markings to a 1939 Salvation Army photo on the right. Her companion also appears to have some kind of markings on her neckband.

Photo to the right via Calisphere

Despite her austere look, the woman on the left does make a nod to current styles with her shorter skirt. Not so her companion on the right, who couldn’t even be bothered to change her hem.

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