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Exhibition Not an Ostrich: & Other Images from America's Library

Detroit Photographic Co. Mississippi cotton gin at Dahomey, Mississippi, 1899. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (62.00.00)

DETROIT PHOTOGRAPHIC CO. [later Detroit Publishing Co.] Cotton Gin. Mississippi, 1897

In 1793, U.S.-born inventor Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin, a machine that revolutionized the production of cotton by greatly speeding up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber. By the mid-nineteenth century, cotton had become America’s leading export.