"Migrant Mother," by Dorothea Lange

During the Great Depression, government photographer Dorothea Lange took this picture at a migrant farmworkers' camp near Nipomo, California. Lange's brief caption recorded her impressions of the family's plight: "Destitute pea pickers ... a 32-year-old mother of seven children."
First published in a San Francisco newspaper, this poignant image became one of the most famous photographs of the Depression era, emblematic of the hardships suffered by poor migrant families. The "migrant mother," anonymous for many years, was later identified as Oklahoma native Florence Thompson.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Lange, Dorothea
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
Place Made
United States: California
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Government, Politics, and Reform
National Treasures exhibit
Great Depression
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
National Treasures exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Sewer, Andy; Allison, David; Liebhold, Peter; Davis, Nancy; Franz, Kathleen G.. American Enterprise: A History of Business in America
Publication title
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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