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The Farmer's Daughter: 1935

The Farmer's Daughter: 1935

September 1935. "Daughter of resettled farmer, father living temporarily at the jail in Irwinville Farms, Georgia, while new homes are being built." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Dress and shoes

I don't think that lady had her "finest" on for the picture. If she did it was probably her daily wear. My grandmother was a farmer's wife and as long as I knew her she wore those dresses and those shoes every day. The shoes would be put on when she got up, taken off for her afternoon rest, and put back on until it was time for bed. She did everything in those dresses and those "hi heeled" shoes. She was one tough woman. She had 11 live children, having one of them during a bout with small pox and often times Grandpa had maybe a dime in his pocket. But they were clean, proud, loving people and kept a clean house and well-kept farm. She was a woman to admire and I never saw her in a pair of pants or flat shoes. She lived to be 99 yrs. old.

Temporary living quarters?

"father living temporarily at the jail in Irwinville Farms, Georgia"

Was this a polite way of saying he was an inmate?

Her best outfit

Well I think she looks absolutely lovely in that pretty dress, and how nice of her to put on her finest shoes for us! A little dignity goes a long towards transcending meager surroundings, an important lesson from those times.

Toothbrushes, yes -- but don't bother looking for toothpaste

...because they probably brushed their teeth with soap, like my dad used to do. Just wet the brush, rub it in the soap, and brush. I tried it once. Yuck.

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

That's what she's reading.
Hang your toothbrush by the door and set a spell.

A few observations

Looks like this young lady is reading a cook book which is also my favorite pastime. There is a wash station for washing up outside there on the porch where one can do laundry and toothbrushing too and an actual water vessel, an "old oaken bucket" from that familiar poem of the same name. The girl has gone out in the mud as her high heeled shoes are caked with the notorious red clay soil of Georgia. To top it all off, they appear to have termites (and you think you've got problems). Still, she smiles for the photo.

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