Transient cotton choppers on the road

Migrant workers who led nomadic lifestyles, traveling from place to place as the seasons changed, were common across the United States in the early decades of the 20th century. In the 1930s, a combination of droughts, the Depression, and the increased mechanization of farming prompted a migration of small farmers and laborers from Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to the West.
While working for the F.S.A., Mydans encountered these migrant workers walking alongside a road carrying all of their belongings. Due to the small wages being offered in these areas, this couple was headed to another work location: "Damned if we'll work for what they pay folks hereabouts."
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 26 1/4 in x 20 in; 66.675 cm x 50.8 cm
place made
United States: Arkansas, Crittenden county
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Mydans, Carl. Carl Mydans, Photojournalist

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.