Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for May 26th:
"...Children in a democracy. A migratory family living in a trailer in an open field... "


"On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler. Maricopa County, Arizona. Children in a democracy..."

"On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler. Maricopa County, Arizona. Children in a democracy. A migratory family living in a trailer in an open field. No sanitation, no water. They came from Amarillo, Texas. Pulled bolls near Amarillo, picked cotton near Roswell, New Mexico, and in Arizona. Plan to return to Amarillo at close of cotton picking season for work on WPA." 11/1940, Lange, Dorothea, Photographer. (National Archives Identifier: 522204 ) ; Photographic Prints Documenting Programs and Activities of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Predecessor Agencies, ca. 1922 - ca. 1947; Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1876 - 1959; Record Group 83; National Archives.

Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of the unemployed and migratory farm workers became synonymous with the Great Depression, was born on May 26, 1895. The caption of this photo reads "On Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler. Maricopa County, Arizona. Children in a democracy. A migratory family living in a trailer in an open field. No sanitation, no water. They came from Amarillo, Texas. Pulled bolls near Amarillo, picked cotton near Roswell, New Mexico, and in Arizona. Plan to return to Amarillo at close of cotton picking season for work on WPA."

The photo is one of a series taken for an agricultural "Community Stability and Instability" study by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Taken by Dorothea Lange and Irving Rusinow, the photographs are a record of pre-World War II rural life and social institutions. Of particular interests are images of African Americans in Alabama and Georgia and migrant laborers hired to work in cotton fields in Arizona and California.
More Dorothea Lange Photos in Picturing the Century
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Buried Nazi Treasure

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