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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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American Beauty: 1940

American Beauty: 1940

July 1940. "Near Shawboro, North Carolina. Group of Florida migrants on their way to Cranberry, New Jersey, to pick potatoes." Medium-format safety negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


But considering the times, destined to look like the older, tired eyed lady in the background.

Blossom Dearie

This girl is like a gorgeous rose that has suddenly bloomed in a most unexpected place.

Beautiful Girl

I don't think the ring on her finger is an engagement ring. My guess is it's the one pretty thing she had and she put it on the finger which could hold it.

I am curious though--how many of the sharecroppers would have been drafted into the army in another year or so? Did they return to their former lives? Did the women sharecroppers find work in munitions factories?

La Gioconda

A "Mona Lisa" smile....


Hmm. . . strikes me that they are probably going to Cranbury, NJ - I don't know of any town called Cranberry in NJ. Though we grow a lot of them here!


These people didn't have a lot of clothing, and what they did have was a bit worn down, but really well made. Look at the shirtsleeve on the man to the right. That's not cheap stuff. I wish I could help the young lady fix the front of her dress. And she's got a ring on her finger. Betrothed?

Coals to Newcastle...

... Potatoes to Cranberry.

I agree

I think the comments reflect my feeling perfectly. It is really a very moving photograph, and she is absolutely beautiful.

Perfect 10

The prefix on the license plate indicates the car is from Broward County, probably Fort Lauderdale, Pompano or Oakland Park.


This is just one of those pictures you want to stare at forever. Her beauty is classic.

The car

1934 Studebaker Dictator, if anyone asks.


What a beautiful young lady. She is still full of hope for the future. I wonder what became of her?

American Beauty: 1940

and the beauty of it all is she could well still be alive. Wouldn't it be a hoot if she posted here?

Who are you.

My God, so beautiful. Did you know, sweetheart? Did you realize? In the next century, we do.

Sentimental journey

Such an evocative picture. That beautiful, soulful face. What were her hopes and dreams? And did any of them come true? One of my very favorite Shorpy pictures. It almost makes me cry.

They are also...

"Pledged to Drive Safely" on their way to New Jersey to pick potatoes. Obviously, a very hard working family too. License plate toppers like this one are a very valuable collectible in the automobilia market.

Oh, my....

A somber photograph, but such a beautiful, beautiful face. This is one of my favorite Shorpy photos ever.


These people don't look like they can afford tires with rubber on the tread. I imagine they spent a lot of time patching tubes and mounting tires.

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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