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Caught Our Eyes: Field Day

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Top spinning contest at the annual field day of the FSA
Top spinning contest at the annual field day of the FSA (Farm Security Administration) farmworkers community, Yuma, Arizona. Photo by Russell Lee, March 1942.

My two kids participated in an annual end-of-the-school-year event earlier this week: Field Day. My memories of field days consist of contests such as the water balloon toss or varieties of races including the sack race or the three-legged race. In this Russell Lee photograph above, the young fellow, looking for all the world like a baseball pitcher about to hurl a fastball, is getting set to fling his top in a competition of spinning duration at the 1942 Yuma, Arizona farmworkers community field day.

In the 1923 National Photo Company image below, the children on the playground appear to be playing a classic circle game such as Ring Around the Rosie. In the background, scores of people are spectating or, perhaps, just waiting for their events to commence. Field day now has become a rite of late spring and a harbinger of the impending summer break from the routines of school for American children.

Arlington County field day
Arlington County field day. Photo by National Photo Company, 1923.

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  1. These are wonderful selections that connect us so well with the recent past. Thank you!

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