I came across this photo in my Sunday newspaper. It clearly shows a 1926-27 Model-T adapted to a motor home of the era with a family of 5 headed to an undisclosed destination. I didn’t notice the feet under the left rear until posting, evidentially attending to some repair. The old Ford, nearing 10 years old, was nearing the end of its useful life, but not before taking this family to a new life.
The picture was taken by the great Dorthea Lang- probably the most consequential U.S. documentary photographer of the 20th century
The plates on the vehicle are Texas and look to be current (for the time) 1936. Maybe they weren't moving; maybe this was their RV for vacations. LOL. My Grandfather came here from Lake Charles, LA in 1941, before the start of WWII, driving his 1927 Model T coupe. He joined his wife, sons, and daughter, who had moved to Texas twelve years earlier in 1929.
The description that goes with this photograph:
A family traveling between Dallas and Austin, Texas. "The people have left their home and connections in South Texas, and hope to reach the Arkansas Delta for work in the cotton fields," Lang wrote in her notes. "Penniless people. No food and three gallons of gas in the tank. The father is trying to repair a tire. Three children. Father says, 'It's tough but life's tough anyway you take it.' "
BTW, its Dorthea Lange, not "Lang" as I originally misspelled it.....
Thank you for the description. Recently read that many of the migrants that headed for California were faced with little or no better conditions than they left. Tough, tough times for many of the poorest Americans. It was just tough for the rest. This photo and story helps us reflect and be thankful for what we all have today. I'm glad and PROUD to be an American.
I’ll bet the ol’ man inder the “car” was cussing his babbit thrust washers and wishin’ they would be invented in bronze...
Rather rare 1933 Ford V8 station wagon Dorthea is sitting on.
Ken in Texas
Here is a better image of Lange and her '33 woodie. What a great car and what a great photographer!
With a good lens on a large format camera like that you get wonderfully sharp pictures. I looked for a better (non-newspaper) reproduction of that first photo and was surprised to find no other sources.
There is a clearer copy of the top photo here:
The caption from Joe's link says that the husband is "repairing a tire".
Here is a better image of the family in their '26
Everyone should read "The Grapes of Wrath".
when did they make a book out of that movie????
Those were more than likely some of my kin, and wherever they went was not a whole lot better than what they left, usually worse, so we stayed put.
What is a book?
What is film? :-)
Yes. I read "Grapes of Wrath" some years back. The story still moves me deeply to this day. Every time I see photos like this, it reminds me of the book and makes my heart ache. I wonder what ever became of these poor souls.
So what happen to the person in the photograph -- "The Migrant Family?" So often the story line follows the writer or photographer. But what about the person in the pictures...
" OROVILLE — Her haggard and lined face, surrounded by the tousled heads of her daughters, is one of the most famous photographs shot during the Depression.
Florence Owens Thompson was 32 years old when she was pictured in 1936 by renown photographer Dorothea Lange, in an image later called "Migrant Mother."
What most people don't know is that Thompson — then Florence Owens — left Oklahoma in 1925 with her husband, and moved to Oroville.
Reportedly a Cherokee, she married Cleo Leroy Owens on Feb. 14, 1921 in Tahlequah, Okla., according to genealogy records.
Her husband, born Dec. 3, 1897 in Missouri, died in May 1931 in Oroville and is buried in the Butte County Cemetery in the county center.
Known as the paupers' cemetery, many who are buried there may have died in the nearby county hospital, which closed decades ago.
At least two children were born to the couple in Oroville as well, and in 1936 when the famous photograph was taken, she had five, according to an audio interview on www.livinghistoryfarm.org
Owens may have taken his family to Oroville because he had siblings there. Census records from 1930 show the family lived on Elgin Street, with two of his brothers' families on the same block.
The family picked peaches, according to that story.
There's another Internet version that said the family landed in the south San Joaquin Valley. She picked cotton in Firebaugh and lived in Shafter. Her husband and his brothers worked at sawmills in Porterville and later in Merced Falls before the family landed in Oroville. " See more at http://www.orovillemr.com/article/ZZ/20121116/NEWS/121117612
By the way ... "... her gravestone reads: "Florence Leona Thompson Migrant Mother — A Legend of the Strength of American Motherhood."
Any idea what he might be working on down in that corner?
That picture cleaned up great.
Maybe he is just camera shy and is hiding under the truck
Here is the iconic picture of Mrs. Florence Thompson alluded to in George's post- the "Migrant Mother":