This photo of the 1940 Woodstock Town Meeting in Vermont was taken by Marion Post (later Marion Post Wolcott) for the U.S. Farm Security Administration. During the Great Depression, Post had grown frustrated that her employer, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, kept sending her to photograph ‘ladies’ stories,’ so she become a photographer for the FSA during the Great Depression.
She traveled the country photographing life as she saw it. Her photographs of the Woodstock Town Meeting show the townspeople discussing the issues, taking a lunch break, listening to the debates and casting ballots.
One of the main questions at the Woodstock Town Meeting was whether to ban the sale of intoxicating liquors. The townspeople also voted on whether pinball machines should be allowed in town. Post recorded some of the banter with her photographs. For example, when a selectman went to vote, the women who gave him the ballot said, “If you vote yes for liquor, you’d better put your ballot in a box in a different town. We won’t let you stay around here long.”
While in Woodstock, Post took the lovely photograph of the town at night (below). It is one of the most requested images from the Library of Congress’s Farm Security Administration collection.
We don’t know whether the town banned the sale of intoxicating liquor in 1940, but we’re quite certain it’s permitted now.