USA June 02, 2016
These Incredibly Compelling Photos Show Life In The U.S. During The Great Depression Like Never Before
The Great Depression was one of the most trying times in American history. Extreme poverty, dust bowl disasters, and social uncertainty made the years between 1930 and 1940 unlike any others in our country’s past. Take a look at these rare photos featuring snippets of everyday life and interesting scenes during the Great Depression. Note: The Library of Congress has colorized some of these pictures to bring even more life to these frozen moments.
1. This Oklahoma farm family stands by the highway between Blythe and Indio. Forced by the drought of 1936 to abandon their farm, they set out with their children to drive to California. Picking cotton in Arizona for a day or two at a time gave them enough for food and gas to continue. On this day, they were within a day's travel of their destination, Bakersfield, California. Their car had broken down en route and was abandoned.
2. A large house in Houston, Texas. A house such as this one may have once been a single-family home, but would have been packed with multiple families during the Great Depression. (1938)
3. A first grade class at the Goodman School in Coffee County, Alabama. This schoolhouse scene in 1938 exemplifies the rote method of education popular during the 1930s.
4. An eighteen year-old mother from Oklahoma, now a California migrant. She sits listlessly with her young child near the family's tent. (1939)
5. A raging dust storm encroaching on Elkhart, Kansas in 1937.
6. A school scene at Cumberland Mountain Farms near Scottsboro, Alabama in June 1936. Their make-shift chairs and lack of shoes speak to their simple lifestyle.
7. This professional migratory laborer is camping on the outskirts of Perryton, Texas at the opening of the wheat harvest. With his wife and growing family, he has been on the road since his marriage, thirteen years ago. He dreamt of buying a little place in Idaho. (1938)
8. A gaggle of children at the Vermont state fair, Rutland. Some families did have the means to spend a day amusing themselves among the attractions, rides, and vendors of fairs and carnivals. (1940)
9. Others had to make do with far less. This is what Christmas dinner looked like in the home of Earl Pauley near Smithfield, Iowa. Dinner consisted of potatoes, cabbage, and pie. (1937)
10. Sometimes dinner wasn't a reality until you caught it yourself. These boys fishing on the bayou in Schriever, Louisiana know that all too well. (1940)
11. Families spending quality time together at the Delta County Fair, Colorado. (1940)
12. A baby in a crib at Earl Pauley's home near Smithland, Iowa. This was a time before doctors recommended keeping cribs clear of blankets and covers. (1937)
13. A group of commuters just off the train, waiting for the bus to go home in Lowell, Massachusetts. (1940)
14. Headlines posted in the window of a newspaper office in Brockton, Massachusetts. Daily newspapers were an unnecessary expense for many families. (1936)
14. A "barker" at the grounds at the Vermont state fair in Rutland. (1939)
16. Underwater breathing devices being tested. Though the country was facing hard times, scientific progress forged onwards. (1935)
17. Mrs. Roosevelt cuts the enormous birthday cake for President Roosevelt during one of his birthday balls. (1938)
18. A round dance between squares in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. Young people during this time had far fewer options for socialization than they do today. (1939)
19. The Leonard Street fire department passing out bread and milk to the poor in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Life during this time shaped a generation of Americans. Did anyone in your family have any memories of the Great Depression?