"Migrant Mother," by Dorothea Lange

"Migrant Mother," by Dorothea Lange

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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
Place Made
United States: California
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Great Depression
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
National Treasures exhibit
Government, Politics, and Reform
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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