An experimental stress-analysis technique using a birefringent coating is reported for determining the stress distribution about a slowly growing crack. The maximum error of the test method for a large strain gradient is found to be less than 10 percent. For a plate with an internal crack, the experimentally determined stress distribution compares favorably with two numerical solutions. Comparison of stresses about an internal or double-edge crack to those about a single-edge crack indicates that the isochromatics bend over to about 45 deg with the plane of the crack in the former and are inclined at about 60 deg in the latter. Also, the stresses for a single-crack tip vary as the inverse square root of the radius, while the stresses for a double-crack tip follow an r-1/4 law more closely.