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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE CITY OF RUINS AND ROSES, c. 1930

Following the Cotton: 1937

Following the Cotton: 1937

June 1937. "Child of Texas migrant family who follow the cotton crop from Corpus Christi to the Panhandle." Photo by Dorothea Lange. View full size.

 

Model T

The car looks like a Ford Model T Coupe circa 1926/1927.

Adolescent angst

Its hard enough being 12 years old (or so) even in the best of circumstances. This poor girl is growing faster than her family can afford to feed her. Her dress is likely remodeled from one of her mother's.

Mom

My mother and her family made their way through Texas in '35, traveling in similar conditions. Seeing Lange's image ... just pulls at my heart and makes me want to cry.

Evocative

Dorothea Lange's photos invariably evoke the dislocation, grinding poverty, and unremitting labor confronting migrant agricultural workers. All of this was a mere three generations ago. Yet these folks endured, survived - only to face a world war. Should put our problems into perspective.

Depression

Of all the photos I've seen of the Depression Era, I think this one captures the angst that people felt. This poor girl looks completely sad, thin and exhausted from toiling away her days in the fields.

Drove through Lubbock last week

Already 100 degrees there, in early June. Not sure where the cotton crop would be between Corpus and the Panhandle in June 1937, but most likely uncomfortably warm, wherever.

Her grandchildren

if she had any, no doubt spend a lot time in that pose! At first glance I thought she had a cellphone!

So Thin

Oh, I would just love to sit that poor girl down some place out of the sun and fix her a good meal. Her hands are probably torn up from picking cotton.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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