New Project — Eyes Of The Great Depression

1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri -- eyes Eyes of the Great Depression 001

One of the really neat things about the internet today is the sharing of vintage, mostly public domain, images, many of them through the Library of Congress. While I’ve posted a few on Exit78 on occasion, there hasn’t been any sort of purpose or pattern to it — which is okay, except that it just turned out to be one of those “someday” things: “I’ll post more vintage images someday…, when I get around to it.” I’ve decided to put more ownership and more of myself into posting of vintage images. Focusing on the Great Depression, I’ll be initially posting images of eyes that I’ve cropped from photographs from the 1930s. Later, I hope to develop a web site where visitors will be able to see my work along with copies of the original photograph. These images will be extra content for my visitors — published fairly frequently in addition to my own photography and commentary.

1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri

1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri. Awaiting the opening of orange picking season at Porterville, California; photo by Dorothea Lange November 1936.

Library of Congress image.

Waiting to pick oranges products from Exit78 at

american history, blogging, Dust, Drought, and Depression, eyes of the great depression, great depression, history, photography, vintage images

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michelle Gartner Nov 1, 2008

    Excellent! I took a college course on the Great Depression – one of the more enjoyable courses, much better then say advanced accounting. ;0) You really felt for those people especially those in the dust bowl. The stories of the dust storms and pictures were just mind blowing and frightening.

  • rummuser Nov 2, 2008

    I have read about the great depression and felt deeply. There were great writers like Scot Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ernst Hemingway and William Faulkner. These writers made the USA available to the world. When I see these photographs, I can visaulize some of the memories from those old readings.

  • Vered - MomGrind Nov 2, 2008

    Very powerful, Mike.

  • Mike Goad Nov 4, 2008

    Michelle, rummuser, teeni:

    I grew up in Western Nebraska and my Mom and Dad were born there during the Depression. While I "knew" about the Depression and the dust bowl years, I never really appreciated how bad it was for so many people until I started reading about it a year or two ago.

    Several years ago, I was researching my ancestry and learned that my Dad's family had settled in the late 1800s in western Kansas. The area my great-grandfather grew up in developed into a very vibrant farming region with a lot of small farms. I had the opportunity to visit and explore there in the mid 1990s and all that's left are a few large farms and some old buildings. A very few distant cousins still live there, but most moved away when their farms failed and hard times hit in the 30s.

    I started "Grapes of Wrath" several months ago, but sat it aside and didn't get back to it until last month. It really is a powerful story and, for me, kind of ironic, given that the name of the family in the story — Joad — is so close to my own.

  • Dot Nov 13, 2008

    I agree with Vered, very powerful. That is interesting about the names! I remember meeting my mother-in-law's parents back in the 1970s and noting the ways in which they hadn't gotten over the Great Depression, even though it was long gone. Hoarding jewelry and oriental rugs, for example, just in case there was another depression.

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