MSSU Archives & Special Collections Exhibits: Group Photos

Digital exhibits created by the MSSU Archives and Special Collections department.

Every year, workers would gather together for a group photo outside of the mines they worked in.

Piokee Mine 1951

Thirty-three miners gather for a photo outside of Eagle Picher Mining and Smelting Co. Piokee Mine in Picher, OK on June 5, 1951. In the center is Albert Derybary, Ground Boss of Piokee Mine. To the left is a man with a sign that says “Onion Head” below him. All other workers’ names are unknown. “We Use Safety Signs” are shown. 

Oronogo Mutual Ground Crew 1944

The Ground Crew for Oronogo Mutual Mining Co.’s Oronogo Circle Mine (Mutual mine) gathers for a photo in Oronogo, MO on August 29, 1944. In the center is Beach Mccoy, Ground Boss for the mine. “We Use Safety Here” signs are shown, and three men hold an American flag in the back. A sign is also in the photo that says, “We do our part for V.” The “V” stands for Victory, as the U.S. was involved in WWII during this time. 

Lasalle Mine Consolidated No 11

Forty-six workers gather outside of La Salle Mine Consolidated No. 11 in Picher, OK on July 7, 1931. In the center is Amos and Andy. The text under Amos says, “Yes We Lets The Kingfish Talk To The Boys.” The text under Andy says, “Let The Madame Queen She Sure Do Better.” This is referencing a popular radio show at the time called “Amos n’ Andy.” This show featured white actors performing in an ‘aural blackface’ and drew on racial stereotypes of African-Americans set in Chicago.  

Oronogo Mutual 1936

A large group of workers gathers outside of Oronogo Mutual Mining Co. Mine on August 13, 1946. The group was celebrating an accomplishment of over 2000 cans with large slices of watermelon, the celebration called “Watermelon-Fete.” All workers names are unknown. This photo was donated by the family of Roy Burton Campbell, who worked in the mine.   

Webber Mine 1929

Fifty-five workers gather for a photo outside Commerce Mining and Royalty Co. Webber Mine on August 8, 1929. Two groups of men hold up flags at the front of the group, and one behind them. The text at the bottom of the photo says, “Out for a Safety Record” and “Went through 1927-1928 to present time August-8-1929-Without a lost time Accident.” 

Grace Walker Mine 1942

Eighty-one miners gather for a picture outside of Eagle Picher Mining and Smelting Co.’s Grace Walker Mine on July 8, 1942. In the center is Bert Paul, Ground Boss for the mine. Alongside him are Guy Wright and Hayden Mckinney, Cokey Herders for the mine. Carl Smith is labeled, “Roof Trimmer.” All other workers’ names are unknown. In the center is a sign that says, “Always Use Safety,” and a sign that says, “HI” HARD ROCK BE LIKE A WOODPECKER “USE YOUR HEAD” BE SURE BE SAFE CHEAT THE UNDERTAKERS AND THE CASKETMAKER OUT OF A LITTLE JOB.

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