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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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Family Truckster: 1937

Family Truckster: 1937

May 1937. "One of three related Oklahoma drought refugee families on the highway near Lordsburg, New Mexico, going to Roswell to chop cotton." Photo by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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Movie Trivia

Isn't Lordsburg the town that The Ringo Kid was heading for in the movie 'Stagecoach'?


The hat reminds me of Elmer Keith who wore the same style Stetson for most of his life. The second thing I noticed is the boy in bare feet and robe.

I am having trouble matching up the reflection in the window with the rest of the photo though.

[It's not a reflection; we're looking through the windshield to the back of the truck. -tterrace]

In perspective

This picture has really touched me. Think this poor family has run out of gas - in more ways than one. I'd love to have it on my wall as a reminder to keep everything in perspective.

Texas Farm Plates

Introduced in 1934 with discount registration, still used today. Vehicle is supposed to be used off the farm only for "farm business." When I was in the Air Force in Texas in the 1960s many of the civil servants had farm plates on their pickups and a permanent hay bale or such in the back to prove "farm business" to any overeager State Trooper. This poor family's "farm business" has taken them a looong way from home.

All God's children got shoes

Well, not all of them. The people in this picture resemble the parched, weather-beaten landscape shown in the background, stripped and hanging on for dear life, barely alive, struggling for a shred of hope that things will get better. These 1930's dust bowl photos do remind us not to feel sorry for ourselves. Even the poorest among us today are living a luxurious existence compared to these down-trodden families.

That Hoot Gibson look

For a true cowperson, the hat is always the last thing to go during hard times.

Hat's Okay

Boys wore all kinds of interesting hats in the 1930s. Some of the male characters in the OUR GANG films wore leather aviator helmets with goggles, cowboy hats and beanies, kind of like a baseball cap without a bill. But the migrant farm workers in the picture really needed their big-brimmed hats for protection from the blazing sunshine of the fields.

Homestead Headgear

Two things jumped right out at me. The Texas license plate with the word "Farm" on it. Might it be that the state charged the farmer or the farm workers less than a regular tag or that juveniles could drive them on the property?
The other is that ten-gallon hat. I never realized that people, other than the actors in the 1930s cowboy films, wore them.

SHORPY OLD 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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