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Migrant Daughter: 1936

Migrant Daughter: 1936

        UPDATE (2017): Thanks to the sleuthing of journalist Tori Cummins and historian Joe Manning, we now know the identity of the young woman in this photo: Ruby Nell Shepard (1916-1970). You can read her story on Joe's website.

November 1936. "Daughter of migrant Tennessee coal miner. Living in American River camp near Sacramento, California." Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Joe Manning strikes again!

The last time I read one of Joe's stories was the cotton mill girl, Eddy. Incredible journalism. [Well done, sir.]

Ruby had a beauty that became rather elegant, as we can see by the 1969 picture. Gazing into the face we see here, you can tell she doesnt know that better days are ahead.

A profound look of uncertainty.

As Laura said, the look of a love lost.

Thank you Joe and Tori!

It is so satisfying to learn what became of people in these photographs and know that eventually life got better. Great job Joe and Tori!

Happiness At Last!

After reading her story on Joe's website, I can say that at last she found a happiness that only few women can attain in life.
A man that adored her, a great adventure with the one she loved, and skills (making clothes) that have now, sadly disappeared (mostly).

Kudos to Joe for the most fascinating story.

I see a wonderful movie from this and Dianne Lane as the older Ruby, Not sure who would play the younger.

Well done Dave for giving this glimpse into a life that (for the most part) turned out well.

Joe Manning website

I just read the story about Ruby. She actually looks a lot happier in the photos from the 40's. She was a good looking woman. Sadly cancer doesn't spare anyone. Tori Masucci Cummins and Joe Manning did an excellent research on Ruby.

Spectacular sleuthing

Thanks indeed to Tori and Joe for Ruby's story.

Oh, women...

All that hard work and she still found the time to wave her hair. Don't think I'm smack talking - I'm on here waiting for my flatiron to heat up!


The Oakland museum of photography has other photos of this girl, one of which is "Ruby from Arkansas."


Her beauty, the pathos, the stories it makes you wonder about in your head -- I might actually like this one more than "Migrant Mother." Devotion to her father? Trapped by duty? Lost sweetheart? Dreams of running away? Dreams already fading? Incredible photograph. Lange was a master of the character study, wasn't she.

A true beauty

Those young hands appear to have known hard work, and that right there is the look of lost love, if you ask me.


It's like seeing Rosasharn from Grapes of Wrath.

Wow ...

I can't imagine what's going through her mind ... but she is absolutely beautiful.


I am amazed how Dorothea Lange continually found beauty in pathos.

It's in the eyes

Fantastic. I wonder where her mind is. The crease where her hand meets her forehead shows just how heavy her head, and perhaps her heart, is.

I like how she has her left elbow resting on her right wrist draped over her knee. When you have a bony elbow (like I do) it makes those long introspections slightly more comfortable.

Ms Lange sure knew how to capture a moment. Another outstanding photo in a wonderful repertoire.

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