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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CHRISTMAS PRINTS

Green Acres: 1937

Green Acres: 1937

July 1937. "White sharecropper family, formerly workers in the Gastonia textile mills. When the mills closed down seven years ago, they came to this farm near Hartwell, Georgia." Medium format negative by Dorothea Lange. View full size.

 
On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

I'm amazed

that in each of the Depression/Dust Bowl pictures that we see, the family, no matter how poor, always seems to have the children's hair trimmed and cut. Don't know how they did that.

[By Mom or Dad with a scissors, and sometimes a bowl. -tterrace]

The Third Kid

Always in the hand-me-downs!

August, I think

I'm guessing it's not penury, but August. Notice that the only clothing with holes is the little boy on the right. They don't have a ton, but they bought new overalls that spring for all but the little one.

Update: regarding Naveeks' question about the haircuts, scissors have been around for a long time, and Wahl made their first home haircutting kits in 1919. Also, the culture at the time was that men got their hair cut even if they were poor--barbers have told me that their profession was one of few that did OK during the depression. Two bits per shave and a haircut for men put food on barbers' tables, really.

Barefoot family

It's not unusual to see barefoot kids in these photos, but it's sad that even the Dad couldn't come up with a pair of shoes to have his picture taken. Both parents look prematurely aged. One can only hope that the economic boom created by WWII brought them some factory work that lifted them up economically.

Collateral Damage

I've yet to see a single photograph of a Depression era migrant family that doesn't evoke in me poignancy and sadness. Only an assumption by me, of course, but I'd be willing to bet the Salt Of The Earth wife and mother pictured here will live out the rest of her days with only three fingers on her right hand due to the horrific and dangerous working conditions she encountered in the textile mills of that time period, all in the pursuit of an (un)livable wage for her family.

Future

Seems to be a hard working family.

Wonder if Dad ended up with a war job; did life for the family improve in 1941/1942?

Oldest boy might have been a bit young for WWII, but he might have made Korea. The other two might also have made Korea.

Not Much Nostalgia Here

We moderns tend to forget just how poor so many people were during the Great Depression. We fixate on the "Improved Lincoln Logs" that fit so neatly on the building's façade, without noting the family's generally ragged and worn-out condition. The men/boys are barefoot, the wife/mother's shoes look like they are about worn out, and even one of the boys has a lined face -- probably a solar overdose in that age before sunscreen.

And these are an "intact" family -- not one that has broken up from the stresses imparted by poverty or suffered the death of one of the adults. They're working the land not because their ancestors did so but because their factory work evaporated. Tough times indeed.

Mom

Mom lost a finger somewhere along the line. My money would be back at the cotton mill.

Not much Green there a single weed

By the look of that family. Appears to be desperate times.

Women had(/ve) it harder

Assuming that Mr. and Mrs. Croppy are roughly the same age, or he is a bit older (as was the norm then), she aged even worse than her husband.

Good old times? Thanks, but no thanks.

 
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