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Domestic Bliss: 1936

Domestic Bliss: 1936

Interior of Ozarks cabin housing six people in Missouri. May 1936. View full size. Farm Security Administration photograph by Carl Mydans.


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Woman's "scowl"

Having seen thousands of pictures from this era, and having known Ozarks residents who lived in this time period, I must say that this woman is not likely scowling at all. She probably does not know the concept of "smiling for the camera." I recall my mother taking pictures of my grandparents in 1957, and my mother's attempts to get them to smile. They couldn't understand why in the world anyone would smile when there was nothing at all funny. Mom finally asked them to say "cheese," which they thought was hilarious, and caused them to laugh enthusiastically, resulting in several humorous pictures to go along with the sober, staid photos that had already been taken.

Let Us Now Praise...

These folks were poor. Think of the other pictures from the depression, like Lange's mother portraits. The newspapers were to keep the drafts out. This poor gal is probably barely 30 and already looks worn out by life.

This Room

I really love imagining this room in color (minus the newspapering) as a modern day room with people of our time. In many ways this picture just seems like a fairytale, like America could look less technological-- it almost seems impossible.


I think it is a private time but also, it shows not only how they lived in those times but how they insulated their homes. Paper is the best insulation and they new it back then. Not safe, but all that they had if they were lucky.

Domestic Bliss, 1936

I am compelled to defend this woman's scowl - it seems like the private moment she's having with baby (breastfeeding?) is being interupted by the photographer.

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