Homesteader with his wife and youngest child during the Great Depression


This photograph was taken in New Mexico during the Great Depression. The photographer, Russell Lee, was employed by the Farm Security Administration to document the poverty of rural and small-town working families in the South and West. Ironically, the photograph also records the penetration of mass culture into everyday American life, the Whinery family decorating their shack with a Coca-Cola advertisement and a hope for “refreshment.”

For more on mass culture and the Great Depression, see: Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (Cambridge, 1990).

Photo: Russell Lee, “Jack Whinery, homesteader, with his wife and the youngest of his five children, Pie Town, New Mexico” (Sept. 1940), Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information Collection 11671-24 (fsac 1a34170), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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