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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • YOU MEAN A WOMAN CAN OPEN IT?
 

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A Growing Family: 1938

A Growing Family: 1938

November 1938. "Family of rural rehabilitation client (last seen here). Tulare County, Calif. Husband also works about ten days a month outside the farm, is 26 years old, wife 22, three small children. Been in California five years." Photo by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

Happy birthday

She would have been born in 1916, making her 100 years old this year. Married at 17, most likely, with three young children by 22 and probably more to come after that. Moving to California as a young bride probably did not live up to how she imagined it. She probably gave birth to all three children in rough conditions, with no one but a neighbor woman to assist her. Passed along her blonde hair and, from the looks of the oldest, her height, to her little ones. I understand why the FSA photographers didn't take down the names of their subjects but I always wish they had so we could know what became of them.

Prematurely aged

I work in a place (a university) where there is no shortage of 22-year-olds. Not a single one looks as old as this strong and handsome woman. On her shoulders stood a generation who fought in WWII and made the country a powerhouse afterwards. My maternal grandmother was a woman like her: a Depression-era widow who raised three children.

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