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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE ALASKA, c. 1920s

Mrs. Henry Dukes: 1941

Mrs. Henry Dukes: 1941

April 1941. "Mrs. Henry Dukes, wife of tenant farmer and FSA borrower. She has about nine children and has been to hospital suffering from cancer. Heard County, Georgia." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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Give or take

"About nine children" -- I guess when you pass four maybe numbers become immaterial?

Haunting

I haven’t been able to shake this image since first seeing it last night. This gaunt woman, relatively young, with “about” nine children, and cancer, has such a defeated and hollow air about her. And to be posed as if for a mug shot, or firing squad, in front of such images that contrast so baldly with her own reality, well, it’s heartbreaking.

Hope Springs Eternal

What a poignant tableau here, as this poverty-stricken, ailing, and presumably exhausted woman stares into the camera against a backdrop depicting new cars, society weddings, and an immaculate "well-loved" house. We can only hope that her children were at least spared the poisonous effects of the touted lead paint with which that unattainable house was "loved."

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