Boy sitting on a bed in the oil boom town of Freer

During one of his first assignments for LIFE magazine, Mydans was asked to capture images of life in Texas. His main focus was the oil boom town of Freer (Jan 17 1938).
The town received its name in 1925, when the government granted permission to have a post office built. Six families had established homesteads there only a decade earlier. By the mid-thirties, the population of Freer was estimated to be somewhere between five and eight thousand.
The first oil boom occurred in 1928, but the Great Depression and the discovery of oil in East Texas in 1930 put an end to it. During the spring of 1932, a second, even bigger, boom occurred. By 1933, Freer had become the second-largest oilfield in the United States and had attracted a flood of settlers from Oklahoma, Kansas, and other midwestern states. According to LIFE, most of the settlers were parasites, people who brought trouble, with them rather than productivity. This child, however, presents a contrast to this idea.
Currently not on view
Date made
Mydans, Carl
place made
United States: Texas, Freer
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 34 cm x 26.5 cm; 13 3/8 in x 10 7/16 in
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


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