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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Mother and Children in Tent Camp: 1936

Mother and Children in Tent Camp: 1936

A migrant mother, 32, who has seven hungry children, living in a tent camp in Nipomo, California. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, March 1936. View full size.

The mother in this photo is the famous subject of a Depression-era portrait known as "Migrant Mother." She came forward in the late 1970s and was revealed to be Florence Owens Thompson. She died in 1983. You can see the photo and read more here.

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While we're at it ... the under-used apostrophe

There is an apostrophe missing in the commentator's first line, in addition to the other apostrophe errors pointed out by Shorpy. The commentator writes "this womans life" which should, of course, be "this woman's life." Grammar aside, great thanks for giving this image and so many others a new life through this wonderful hundred year old blog. This is my new favorite site. I know I'll spend hours looking around in the corners here. Thank you.

Correct the caption, for Florence Owens Thompson's sake

Reading the attached links info gave an incredible perspective to this womans life and make's me think of how one seemingly insignificant thing like your car breaking down can change one's life... She is not living in a tent camp (at least not when the picture was taken), i'm sure the kid's are hungry, but not b/c of the reason's one would think.

Shorpy's reply: First, in defense of the poor overworked apostrophe, the plural of "kid" is kids, the plural of "reason" is reasons, it's "makes me think," not "make's me think." Second: It was a tent camp, according to Geoffrey Dunn's account of how Dorothea Lange came to take this picture:

At Nipomo, "like a homing pigeon," she turns onto a muddy road and discovers a sprawling, squalid campsite of nearly 2,500 migrant farm workers battling starvation and the elements. They had been lured to the camp by newspaper advertisements promising work in the pea fields, only to be left stranded when protracted, late-winter rains destroyed the crop.

Almost spontaneously, Lange zeros in on a woman and a handful of children huddled in a tattered, lean-to tent ...

Even from that distance, the

Even from that distance, the first thing I thought was "Is that the same woman from 'Migrant Mother'?" I'm glad we know who she is now.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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