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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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End of the Road: 1935

End of the Road: 1935

June 1935. "Children of Oklahoma drought refugees on highway near Bakersfield, California. Family of six; no shelter, no food, no money and almost no gasoline. The child has bone tuberculosis." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration.

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The smaller little girl appears to have some joint issues as well, alas, given the appearance of her ankles.

I guess this is one story's end we will probably never know. But whatever happened, at least they are not lost to history.

Another "Okie"

As a resident of Oklahoma now and lived here in my youth, I am amazed how ANY down-and-out person was from "Oklahoma" in all pitiful migrant photos from the 1930's. I have always wondered how 5 million "Okies" moved from Oklahoma which had barely over one million residents. Fascinating--maybe they subdivided on the way west...

[The population of Oklahoma in 1930 was 2.405 million; 10 years later it was 2.336 million, a loss of 69,000 people. Nobody is claiming that 5 million Oklahomans moved to California. - Dave]

The 1930s

I lived through the Depression. I thought I had it rough because my new Sears mail order shoes would come a week after school started and would be asked why I did not wear new shoes the first day of school. Seeing this family I now know what rough is. I do pray they got to California and their life improved.


When I look at this photo as a history buff, it's so sad and poignant and so succinctly conveys the hard times of The Dust Bowl...and I say a silent word of thanks for photographers like Lange.

But when I look it as a mother, I am shaken at how desperately *afraid* these parents must have been--seriously, sickeningly, scared of how they would feed these children and what the future held for this precarious little family during this nation's Hard Times. (And I always wonder if Ms. Lange parted with some hard candy for the urchins in the picture or slipped a few dollars to the father when no one was looking...)

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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