Interior of wood shack built on Ford Chassis–The Bitter Years 007

Interior of wood shack built upon Ford truck chassis housing father, mother and seven children. This view shows the mother and two of her children. They were found on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee, near Tennessee River. Carl Mydans (photographer) March 1936

Interior of wood shack built upon Ford truck chassis housing father, mother and seven children. This view shows the mother and two of her children. They were found on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee, near Tennessee River –The Bitter Years 007

I’ve published 4 other posts using Mydans’ photos of this family:

The only information about this family I have been able find online is in the captions for the images at the Library of Congress:

Resettlement official investigating case of nine living in field on U.S. Route 70 between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near Tennessee RiverResettlement official investigating case of nine living in field on U.S. Route 70 between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near Tennessee River.


Three of the family of nine living in field in rough board covering built on old Ford truck chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee. Their water supply was an open creek running near state highwayThree of the family of nine living in field in rough board covering built on old Ford truck chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee. Their water supply was an open creek running near state highway.


Twelve-year old girl of family of nine living in one-room hut built over the chassis of abandoned Ford truck in open field on U.S. Route 70 between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee. Near backward Tennessee section. View also shows one of the small boys in family; the girl is dressed in a meal sackTwelve-year old girl of family of nine living in one-room hut built over the chassis of abandoned Ford truck in open field on U.S. Route 70 between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee. Near backward Tennessee section. View also shows one of the small boys in family; the girl is dressed in a meal sack.


One-room hut housing family of nine built over chassis of abandoned Ford in open field between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near Tennessee River.One-room hut housing family of nine built over chassis of abandoned Ford in open field between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near Tennessee River.


Mother and baby of family of nine living in field on U.S. Route 70 in Tennessee, near Tennessee RiverMother and baby of family of nine living in field on U.S. Route 70 in Tennessee, near Tennessee River


After adding the images from the Library of Congress, I continued searching online for additional information.  While I didn’t find any new facts about the family or their situation, I did discover two additional images in The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Illiterate father of seven children living with his family (9 of them) in open field in rough board covering built on old Ford truck chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee. Their water supply was an open creek running near highway.Illiterate father of seven children living with his family (9 of them) in open field in rough board covering built on old Ford truck chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee. Their water supply was an open creek running near highway.


Mother and father and several children of a family of nine living in open field in rough board covering built on old Ford chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee. Their water supply was an open creek running near highway.


The Bitter Years, in 1962, was Edward Steichen’s last exhibition as Director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The images in the exhibition were personally selected by Steichen from 270,000 photos taken for the Farm Security Administration by a team of photographers employed between 1935 and 1941 to document (primarily) rural America during the Great Depression.

america, american history, great depression, life, people, photography, terrorism, the bitter years
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