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Cam Ham: 1937

Cam Ham: 1937

November 1937. "Mrs. John Baker and baby on steps of farm home. Divide County, North Dakota." Photo by Russell Lee for the FSA. View full size.


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Good looking family

1940 Census data suggests the mother is Rosa (about 47 in 1937) and the child is Lois (1). Additional family members photographed in the series by Russell Lee include children Clarence (16), Rose (11), Perry (9), Pearl (6), and Virginia (3).

The John Baker family, Divide County, North Dakota

This is Joe Manning. I located one of the grandsons of Mr. and Mrs. Baker. He lives in Montana. I talked to his wife. The family recently discovered this photo, plus nine others taken by Russell Lee, and shared them with most of the other living descendants. She told me that the old house is still there. She said that she would tell her husband about my phone call, but that he may not have time to get back to me for several months. It's haying season!


I'll bet that cabin was a cold place to winter in ND. Looks like a good wind would wipe it out.

Scary Stairs

Those crude stairs look dangerous. I hope the happy and well-cared for baby went on to live a more prosperous life.


My gosh, those steps leading off the porch are more terrifying than the porch itself. Talk about survival of the fittest -- I am in awe of these folks!

Still joy breaks through

Despite the obvious signs of poverty and a truly hard life being depicted here, the beautiful baby in this photo is genuinely smiling at the wind in her hair and the photographer. Hope springs eternal.

Cutie PIE

That little one is a doll.

Hormel? Armour?

Getting old isn't easy. I took a quick peek at the photo's title and immediately began searching for the "can ham", something I haven't seen in years. Only later, after searching futilely for the tasty treat's container, did I reread the title. Cute kid.


Now I have a good idea why my mother would never, ever speak of her life on the prairie in Saskatchewan during the Depression.

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