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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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The Matriarch: 1937

The Matriarch: 1937

July 1937. "Old Negress of Greene County, Georgia." Medium format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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The house is unusual.

The house is definitely not a typical tenant farmer affair. The elaborate front door treatment and staircase say that this once once quite a house. The typical tenant farmers house would have been one story and 3 to 4 rooms. There would have been no ornamentation. Such a house might be recognizable to someone from that area. I hope we will learn more.

A Person of Substance

Not only is this a lady considerable dignity but, judging from the few architectural details visible, her home is far superior to the shacks and shanties that so predominate Lange's work during this period.

I suspect that, within the confines of the Jim Crow laws and practices prevalent at the time, she was a person of some standing in her community.

Yes pdstark. . .

My exact thoughts! Wonder what IS in those pockets? And I'll be she's planning to save the grain bag on the floor behind her to make another wonderful, sturdy apron with zigzag stitching on the pockets!

Typically Lange

Prime example of Lange's work. Quietly evocative of this lady's strength and beauty.


A striking woman with clearly defined strength and beauty. I'd love to listen to her story. And see what she has in her pockets.

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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