The Depression

depression gallery

By the mid 1930s, people all over the country had been laid off. Whole families left home to look for work. Some piled into old cars and hit the road, others hitchhiked. A lot of young men who couldn't find jobs became hobos - - they hung out in train yards and hopped freights, not caring which way they were headed. They were just glad to be on the move.

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Child in doorway of shack of migrant pickers and packing house workers, near Belle Glade, Florida
1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.19

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Migrant family from Missouri camping out in cane brush. One woman said, “We ain’t never lived like hogs before.
But we sure does now.” Canal Point, Florida 1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.27

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Farmers sleeping in a “white” camp room in a warehouse. They often must remain several days before their tobacco is sold. Durham, North Carolina
1939, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.37

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Marion Post Wolcott, born Santa Barbara, CA 1910–died Montclair, NJ 1990
Couple carrying home groceries, kerosene on horseback. Kentucky Mountains
1940, printed later
silver print on paper
11 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. and Jann Arrington Wolcott
1998.120.32

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Mitchell Siporin, born New York City 1910–died Boston, MA 1976
Back o’ the Yards #3
1937
gouache on paper
18 x 25 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from The Museum of Modern Art
1971.447.82

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O. Louis Guglielmi, born Cairo, Egypt 1906–died Amagansett, NY 1956
Relief Blues
about 1938
tempera on fiberboard
24 x 30 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from The Museum of Modern Art
1971.447.34

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Howard Taft Lorenz, born 1906–died Los Angeles, CA 1956
Dismissal
1940
oil on canvas
36 x 30 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from The Museum of Modern Art
1971.447.62

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Edward Millman, born Chicago, IL 1907–died Woodstock, NY 1964
Flop House
1937
tempera on fiberboard
23 x 29 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from The Museum of Modern Art
1971.447.73

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Barbara Stevenson, n.d.
Apple Vendor
about 1933–1934
oil on canvas
31 1/4 x 29 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
1964.1.97

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Mervin Jules, born Baltimore, MD 1912–died Provincetown, MA 1994
Dispossessed
about 1938
tempera on cotton mounted on fiberboard
17 7/8 x 23 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Charles G. Jules
1981.80.1

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Clare Leighton, born London, England 1898–died Watertown, CT 1989
Bread Line, New York
1932
wood engraving on paper
11 7/8 x 8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Frank McClure
1979.98.146

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John Groth, born Chicago, IL 1908–died New York City 1988
Sacking of Hooverville
1930
drypoint
7 x 9 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chicago Society of Etchers
1935.13.128

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James N. Rosenberg, born Allegheny City, PA 1874–died White Plains, NY 1970
Dies Irae (Oct 29)
1929
lithograph on paper
13 3/4 x 10 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase
1973.185.5

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Harry Brodsky, born Newark, NJ 1908–died Philadelphia, PA 1997
Nowhere to Go
1931
conté crayon on paper
16 1/4 x 11 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist
1982.78.3