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Starting Over: 1935

December 1935. "Resettled farm child. From Taos Junction to Bosque Farms project, New Mexico." View full size.  Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration.

December 1935. "Resettled farm child. From Taos Junction to Bosque Farms project, New Mexico." View full size. Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration.


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That is one of the remarkable things about photography -- we see what we see, provoking, pulling, pushing us into the scene, imagining what was going on. She may not be sad, but it made me sad, and I would like to give her a doll.

Bosque Farms Today

Bosque Farms is just south of the Isleta Pueblo in Valencia County, New Mexico. Today it is part of the Albuquerque metro area, and has mostly upscale homes with enough room for folks to have horses if they choose. It had been part of early Spanish land grants, and a number of different owners had rancheros in the area. In 1935 the Federal Resettlement Administration bought a large tract there from the state and divided it into 42 parcels which were settled by Dust Bowl refugees from Taos and Harding counties in New Mexico. Small adobe homes were constructed for those resettled, and a number of those homes are still in use today. The original intent was for agricultural livelihoods for those resettled, and that held true for a number of years. However, today it is primarily a bedroom community for Albuquerque.
I thought it would be nice to give some background to a wonderful photo

Fireplace Girl

She doesn't look sad, to me. She looks like she is examining something about the fireplace - maybe noting the small details of how the wood cracked this time, how the ash crumbled.

I imagine this young girl as someday being able to recall, in vivid detail, this fireplace - each crack, each imperfection - and treasuring its memory more than I treasure the memory of my favorite doll. I imagine her laughingly telling her children and grandchildren about how she new every scratch on her bed and every dent in the wall, she treasured those few things so much.

My grandmother speaks this way of an orange dress that she once hated in the Depression, because it showed their poverty. But now she fondly remembers it.

Bosque Farms

Wonderful photo! I will definitely use it in my upcoming Great Depression history project!

Christina's World

Great photo. It reminds me of an Andrew Wyeth painting.

Very touching

And my kid is whining because the Xbox is broken, I'm going to show him this to maybe give him a little perspective.

Pulls you in

Stunning picture, really pulls you in.

Makes you wonder why she is so sad? And is she actually sad or simply really bored?

You'll notice the absence of any toys or furniture other than a hand made bench and a rickety old bed. Dried corn cobs by the window frame, and something that surprised me, books and a newspaper on the window frame which leads me to believe someone in her family can read. Could they be her schoolbooks?

What has me curious is what was the function of the piece of corrugated steel with a hole in the middle hanging over the fireplace?

[That's a hole for a stovepipe. As for the girl, she doesn't look especially sad to me. I see a kid looking at a fireplace waiting for Dorothea Lange to take her picture. - Dave]

Bosque Farms

Stunning composition in this one. Wow.


Amazing, what an emotional photo.

Better times ahead?

Heartbreaking. When I view what I believe to be photos of sad children I always hope that somewhere in the future that lies ahead them are happier moments.


One of the best so far, thank you for putting this up. So moving.

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