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Dorothea Lange, FSA, HD

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1895, Dorothea Lange contracted polio as a young girl. She learned professional photography skills while working in New York in her early 20s, and then landed in San Francisco where she ran a portrait business catering to the city's wealthy elite.

Her second husband, Paul Taylor, helped her to get out into the fields with the destitute pickers, who she'd treat like portrait subjects with empathy and identification with her subjects. When the Depression hit, she captured crowded breadlines. In the late 1930s Dorothea Lange had been hired by the photographic unit of the Farm Security Administration - to photograph Dust Bowl refugees escaped into California from the Midwest and her images went far beyond bureaucratic reportage.

A skilled portraitist, Lange might not have been able to change government policies, but her images for the FSA were picked up by newspapers across the country. John Steinbeck used them for inspiration in his 1939 Dust Bowl tale "The Grapes of Wrath."
1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri. Awaiting the opening of orange picking season at Porterville, California
1932
1932
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1948
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1948
3,640 Media in collectionpage 1 of 37
Employment signs in Spanish and English. These ranches (1938) increasingly use Negro pickers. Near Fresno, California

Employment signs in Spanish and English. These ranches (1938) increasi...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). Title and other information from caption card. Electronic surrogate made from item with the same number in the LC-USF34 series. Transfer; United States... more

Date picker's home. Coachella Valley, California

Date picker's home. Coachella Valley, California

File print misnumbered LC-USF341-001609-B; corrected 1998. Original negative missing. This negative made from file print. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War In... more

Squatter camp facilities

Squatter camp facilities

Shelter with trash strewn around, Indio, Imperial Valley, California. Photograph taken for U.S. Resettlement Administration.

Motherless migrant children. They work in the cotton

Motherless migrant children. They work in the cotton

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Marysville camp for migrants. Resettlement Administration. Shows utility unit and camp sites (toilets, showers, laundry). California

Marysville camp for migrants. Resettlement Administration. Shows utili...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Typical farm in the Mills area, New Mexico. These people are to be resettled, their land to revert to cattle range

Typical farm in the Mills area, New Mexico. These people are to be res...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

A new home on wheels (father and son). Yuba County, California

A new home on wheels (father and son). Yuba County, California

Annotation on original negative jacket: DL. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More informat... more

Drought refugees from Oklahoma looking for work in the pea fields of California. Near San Jose Mission

Drought refugees from Oklahoma looking for work in the pea fields of C...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). Original negative missing. This negative made from file print. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War In... more

Resettled child of Bosque Farms, New Mexico. She herds cows for neighboring families for five cents per day

Resettled child of Bosque Farms, New Mexico. She herds cows for neighb...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Man with young boy in his arms, both wearing caps

Man with young boy in his arms, both wearing caps

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; p. 10.

Adults and children registering as ship passengers at dock in San Francisco

Adults and children registering as ship passengers at dock in San Fran...

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; p. 6.

The rolling lands used for grazing near Mills, New Mexico

The rolling lands used for grazing near Mills, New Mexico

Actual size of negative is B (approximately 5 x 7 inches). File print and print in microfilmed lot misnumbered LC-USF343-002768-ZE; file print corrected 1998. Title and other information from caption card. Tran... more

Marysville camp for migrants. Supervised play for the children is part of the child welfare program at the Resettlement Administration camp. California

Marysville camp for migrants. Supervised play for the children is part...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Dust storm near Mills, New Mexico

Dust storm near Mills, New Mexico

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Homes of Mexican field workers. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Homes of Mexican field workers. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Date picker's home. Coachella Valley, California

Date picker's home. Coachella Valley, California

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). Original negative missing. This negative made from file print. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War In... more

Ingenuity of man

Ingenuity of man

House made of eucalyptus leaves, Bakersfield, California. Photograph taken for U.S. Resettlement Administration.

Dispossessed Arkansas farmers. Bakersfield, California

Dispossessed Arkansas farmers. Bakersfield, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Jack Neill, "migratory fruit tramp," on banks of Pulah Creek near Winters, California. He owns one acre subsistence farm near Porterville. Represented migratory laborers as speaker at Commonwealth Club, San Francisco (See published "Transactions" of the Club). Education: two years to University of Montana

Jack Neill, "migratory fruit tramp," on banks of Pulah Creek near Wint...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). File print and print in microfilmed lot misnumbered LC-USF341-038052-B; file print corrected 1998. File print is reversed; printed backwards. Title and... more

Ideal grazing conditions are afforded by this area if it is properly utilized. Overgrazing has depleted natural forage until feeding scenes like this are common. Mew Mexico

Ideal grazing conditions are afforded by this area if it is properly u...

Actual size of negative is D (approximately 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches). Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information ... more

The slums of Brawley. Homes of Mexican field workers. Imperial Valley, California

The slums of Brawley. Homes of Mexican field workers. Imperial Valley,...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Roadside camp near Bakersfield, California. "Come to California." The wordly posessions of refugees from Texas dust, drought and depression

Roadside camp near Bakersfield, California. "Come to California." The ...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Slums of San Francisco, California

Slums of San Francisco, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Temporary home. These buildings to be remodeled later on for barns and outbuildings. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Temporary home. These buildings to be remodeled later on for barns and...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Young man wearing cap

Young man wearing cap

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; p. 4.

Children of Oklahoma drought refugees on highway near Bakersfield, California. Family of six; no shelter, no food, no money and almost no gasoline. The child has bone tuberculosis

Children of Oklahoma drought refugees on highway near Bakersfield, Cal...

File print is reversed; printed backwards. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More informati... more

Migrant agricultural worker in Marysville migrant camp (trying to figure out his year's earnings). California

Migrant agricultural worker in Marysville migrant camp (trying to figu...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

The town of Mills, New Mexico. The grain elevator in background at right has been long ago abandoned. The bank is closed

The town of Mills, New Mexico. The grain elevator in background at rig...

Actual size of negative is D (approximately 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches). Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information ... more

Entrance to Marysville camp for migrants. Marysville, California

Entrance to Marysville camp for migrants. Marysville, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Bosque Farms project. Making adobe brick for school and permanent houses. New Mexico

Bosque Farms project. Making adobe brick for school and permanent hous...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Youngest child of four of rural rehabilitation client. Father assisted in establishing poultry farm. Loan successful. Near San Fernando, California

Youngest child of four of rural rehabilitation client. Father assisted...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Migrant Mexican children in contractor's camp at time of early pea harvest. Nipomo, California

Migrant Mexican children in contractor's camp at time of early pea har...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). File print misnumbered LC-USF343-003803-ZE; corrected 1998. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Infor... more

Fence corner and outbuilding being buried by dust. Misuse of lands is the chief cause of results such as this. Mills, New Mexico

Fence corner and outbuilding being buried by dust. Misuse of lands is ...

Actual size of negative is D (approximately 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches). Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information ... more

Potato harvesters. Kern County, California

Potato harvesters. Kern County, California

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). File print is reversed; printed backwards. File print misnumbered LC-USF343-003807-ZE; corrected 1998. Title and other information from caption card. T... more

Over this bridge drought refugees are crossing the Colorado River into California. U.S. 80 / Dorothea Lange, 1935.

Over this bridge drought refugees are crossing the Colorado River into...

Photograph shows cars crossing a bridge with a sign with the word "Yuma" on the top. Title from item.

Temporary housing for the settlers. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Temporary housing for the settlers. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Leveling the land for irrigation on the Bosque Farms project. The tract of two thousand four hundred acres to be cultivated under irrigation. New Mexico

Leveling the land for irrigation on the Bosque Farms project. The trac...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Making adobe bricks. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico. These bricks are to be used in construction of the new school building

Making adobe bricks. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico. These bricks ar...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Along the highway near Bakersfield, California. Dust bowl refugees

Along the highway near Bakersfield, California. Dust bowl refugees

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Camp of single men by the roadside. They have come in to work in the pea fields. Nipomo, California

Camp of single men by the roadside. They have come in to work in the p...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). File print is reversed; printed backwards. File print misnumbered LC-USF343-003806-ZE; corrected 1998. Title and other information from caption card. T... more

Mexican family. Brawley County, Imperial Valley, California

Mexican family. Brawley County, Imperial Valley, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Housing for Mexican field laborers. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Housing for Mexican field laborers. Brawley, Imperial Valley, Californ...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

No garbage disposal. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

No garbage disposal. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Housing. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Housing. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Two scenes aboard the U.S.A.T. St. Mihiel: A family group posing on deck, and a man looking through a porthole

Two scenes aboard the U.S.A.T. St. Mihiel: A family group posing on de...

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; p. 7.

Imperial Valley, California. Old Mexican laborer saying "I have worked all my life and all I have now is my broken body"

Imperial Valley, California. Old Mexican laborer saying "I have worked...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Farm child. Family now settled on the Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Farm child. Family now settled on the Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Photograph shows girl sitting on steamer trunk at Bosque Farms agricultural resettlement project for Dust Bowl refugees. Title from item. Original negative is at the Library: LC-USF34-1622. Gift; of the photogr... more

Off for the melon fields (Mexican labor). Imperial Valley, California

Off for the melon fields (Mexican labor). Imperial Valley, California

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven children without food. Mother aged thirty-two. Father is a native Californian. Nipomo, California

Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven children without food. Mot...

Photograph shows Florence Thompson with two of her children as part of the "Migrant Mother" series. For background information, see "Dorothea Lange's M̀igrant Mother' photographs ..." http://www.loc.gov/rr/prin... more

On location of Resettlement Administration film near Bakersfield, California. Three brothers, drought refugees from Texas (note water barrel)

On location of Resettlement Administration film near Bakersfield, Cali...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Outlying fields of Mexican village in the hills of the Tewa Basin, New Mexico

Outlying fields of Mexican village in the hills of the Tewa Basin, New...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Texans earning their way westward, bound for a new start in Oregon. United States No. 99, California

Texans earning their way westward, bound for a new start in Oregon. Un...

Actual size of negative is D (approximately 4 x 5 inches). File print misnumbered LC-USF343-003804-ZE; corrected 1998. Print in microfilmed lot misnumbered 38042-E. Title and other information from caption card... more

A new start. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

A new start. Bosque Farms project, New Mexico

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Title page including photographic print of American flag

Title page including photographic print of American flag

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; title page.

Colonist to Alaska from Minnesota

Colonist to Alaska from Minnesota

Man, one of the first rural rehabilitation colonists from Minnesota, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly right, wearing hat, at San Francisco railroad station leaving for Mantanuska Valley, Alaska. Lan... more

Dispossessed Arkansas farmers. These people are resettling themselves on the dump outside of Bakersfield, California

Dispossessed Arkansas farmers. These people are resettling themselves ...

Annotation on original negative jacket: DL. Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Colle... more

Village of the Tewa Basin in winter. Chimayo, New Mexico

Village of the Tewa Basin in winter. Chimayo, New Mexico

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Mexican mother in California. "Sometimes I tell my children that I would like to go to Mexico, but they tell me 'We don't want to go, we belong here.'" (Note on Mexican labor situation in repatriation.)

Mexican mother in California. "Sometimes I tell my children that I wou...

Actual size of negative is C (approximately 4 x 5 inches). Title and other information from record for item with the same number in the LC-USF34 series. Electronic surrogate made from item with the same number ... more

Between Laton and Fowler, central San Joaquin Valley, California. One man-one horse methods are rare in California

Between Laton and Fowler, central San Joaquin Valley, California. One ...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is availabl... more

Father and child on train

Father and child on train

Surrogate available as color laser copy in P&P Reading Room. In album: First rural rehabilitation colonists, Northern Minnesota to Matanuska Valley, Alaska. Sailed from San Francisco, May 1st, 1935; p. 2.

Home of Mexican field worker showing water supply. Brawley, Imperial Valley, California

Home of Mexican field worker showing water supply. Brawley, Imperial V...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refugees from dust bowl. Twenty-two in family, thirty-nine evictions, now encamped near Bakersfield without shelter, without water and looking for work in the cotton

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refuge...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Transient potato workers camping along the highway. Near Shafter, California

Transient potato workers camping along the highway. Near Shafter, Cali...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

Discouraged farmers have been leaving this area over a period of years, leaving their heavy equipment in the fields. Mills, New Mexico

Discouraged farmers have been leaving this area over a period of years...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more