Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content

One Third of a Nation: The Photographs of the Farm Security Administration

Main Gallery

Dorothea Lange  White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, 1933 Gelatin silver printed; printed 1950s 13 x 10 1/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, 1933
Gelatin silver printed; printed 1950s
13 x 10 1/8 inches

Dorothea Lange  Greek migratory woman living in a cotton camp near Exeter, California, c.1935

Dorothea Lange

Greek migratory woman living in a cotton camp near Exeter, California, c.1935

Gelatin silver print, printed c.1935

7 1/8 x 9 1/2 inches

Dorothea Lange  Scene from "The Plow that Broke the Plains", migrant camp outside Bakersfield, California, October 1935 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 inches

Dorothea Lange

Scene from "The Plow that Broke the Plains", migrant camp outside Bakersfield, California, October 1935
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935
7 1/2 x 9 5/8 inches

Russel Lee  Untitled, c.1937 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1937 9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Russell Lee

Untitled, c.1937
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1937
9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches

Peter Sekaer  Pearlstine Alley, Charleston, South Carolina, c.1939 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1939 6 5/8 x 9 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Peter Sekaer

Pearlstine Alley, Charleston, South Carolina, c.1939
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1939
6 5/8 x 9 inches

Peter Sekaer  Residents of slums in Washington, D.C., 1938 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1938 7 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Peter Sekaer

Residents of slums in Washington, D.C., 1938
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1938
7 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches

Peter Sekaer, Macon, Georgia, 1936

Peter Sekaer

Macon, Georgia, 1936

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936

7 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches

Carl Mydans, Untitled, c.1936

Carl Mydans

Untitled, c.1936

Gelatin silver print; printed later

10 3/8 x 13 3/8 inches

Dorothea Lange  Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed later 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, Howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed later
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Dorothea Lange  Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed later Image size: 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed later
9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches

 

Dorothea Lange  Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed later 9 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed later
9 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches

 

Dorothea Lange  Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed later 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed later
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Walker Evans  Negro Barbershop Interior, Atlanta, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Walker Evans

Negro Barbershop Interior, Atlanta, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Arthur Rothstein  Fennel Carlin, Who Has Been Resettled on New Land, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, c.1935 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935 13 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Arthur Rothstein

Fennel Carlin, Who Has Been Resettled on New Land, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, c.1935
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935
13 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches

Russell Lee  Strawberry Pickers, 1935-43 Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s 9 x 13 1/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Russell Lee

Strawberry Pickers, 1935-43
Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s
9 x 13 1/4 inches

Carl Mydans  Children playing in backyard of slum area near Capitol. Area is inhabited by both blacks and whites. Washington, DC, 1935-42 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935-42 10 5/8 x 13 3/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Carl Mydans

Children playing in backyard of slum area near Capitol. Area is inhabited by both blacks and whites. Washington, DC, 1935-42
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935-42
10 5/8 x 13 3/4 inches

Russell Lee  Camp for Migrants, 1935-43

Russell Lee

Camp for Migrants, 1935-43

Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s

9 x 13 inches

Marion Post-Wolcott  Discussing Their Problems, 1935-43 Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s 10 1/8 x 12 7/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Marion Post-Wolcott

Discussing Their Problems, 1935-43
Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s
10 1/8 x 12 7/8 inches

Marion Post-Wolcott  New Machine, 1935-43 Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s 10 x 13 1/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Marion Post-Wolcott

New Machine, 1935-43
Gelatin silver print; printed early 1940s
10 x 13 1/4 inches

Walker Evans  "The Grand Man" Wall Mural, c.1935 Gelatin silver print on carte postale; printed  c.1935 5 1/2 x 3 7/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Walker Evans

"The Grand Man" Wall Mural, c.1935
Gelatin silver print on carte postale; printed  c.1935
5 1/2 x 3 7/8 inches

Walker Evans  Penny Picture Display, Savannah, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936 8 x 6 3/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Walker Evans

Penny Picture Display, Savannah, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936
8 x 6 3/4 inches

 

Dorothea Lange  Pare Lorentz and Paul Ivano making resettlement film near Bakersfield, CA, c.1935 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935 7 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Pare Lorentz and Paul Ivano making resettlement film near Bakersfield, CA, c.1935
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935
7 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches

Russell Lee, Untitled, c.1937

Russell Lee

Untitled, c.1937

Gelatin silver print

9 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches

Ben Shahn  Pushcart for Paper, NY, 1932-35 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1932-35 6 5/8 x 9 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Ben Shahn

Pushcart for Paper, NY, 1932-35
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1932-35
6 5/8 x 9 1/2 inches

Ben Shahn  Sharecropper's children on Sunday, Little Rock, Arkansas, October 1935 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935 7 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Ben Shahn

Sharecropper's children on Sunday, Little Rock, Arkansas, October 1935
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935
7 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches

Dorothea Lange  Filipinos Cutting Lettuce, Salinas, California, 1935 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1964 14 3/4 x 14 5/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Dorothea Lange

Filipinos Cutting Lettuce, Salinas, California, 1935
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1964
14 3/4 x 14 5/8 inches

David Robbins  Untitled, 1938 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1938 10 x 8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

David Robbins

Untitled, 1938
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1938
10 x 8 inches

Photographer Unknown   Close-up of WPA workers laying blocks on North Main Street, Springfield, Massachusetts, March 23, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed 1936 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Photographer Unknown

Close-up of WPA workers laying blocks on North Main Street, Springfield, Massachusetts, March 23, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed 1936
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Arthur Rothstein  Flood Victim, Missouri, 1938 Gelatin silver print; printed 1981 14 x 11 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Arthur Rothstein

Flood Victim, Missouri, 1938
Gelatin silver print; printed 1981
14 x 11 inches

Arthur Rothstein  Sugar Beet before topping, Adams County, Colo., 1939 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1939 9 1/2 x 7 3/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Arthur Rothstein

Sugar Beet before topping, Adams County, Colo., 1939
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1939
9 1/2 x 7 3/8 inches

Russell Lee  Combination Storage Room and Chick Room, Adjacent to Bedroom in Sharecropper's House, c.1936-37 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936-37 7 x 9 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Russell Lee

Combination Storage Room and Chick Room, Adjacent to Bedroom in Sharecropper's House, c.1936-37
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936-37
7 x 9 1/2 inches

Ben Shahn, Child of Fortuna Family, Hammond, Louisiana, October 1935

Ben Shahn

Child of Fortuna Family, Hammond, Louisiana, October 1935

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1935

7 5/8 x 9 1/2 inches

Walker Evans   Kitchen in Floyd Burroughs's Home, Hale County, Alabama, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936 5 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Walker Evans

Kitchen in Floyd Burroughs's Home, Hale County, Alabama, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936
5 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches

Walker Evans  Tenant Farmer's Wife, Alabama (Allie Mae Burroughs), 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed 1971 9 1/4 x 7 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Walker Evans

Tenant Farmer's Wife, Alabama (Allie Mae Burroughs), 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed 1971
9 1/4 x 7 inches

Arthur Rothstein  Dust storm, Cimarron County, Okalahoma, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed later 19 x 18 7/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Arthur Rothstein

Dust storm, Cimarron County, Okalahoma, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed later
19 x 18 7/8 inches

Arthur Rothstein  Dust Storm Damage, 1936 Gelatin silver print 6 1/4 x 7 1/2 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Arthur Rothstein

Dust Storm Damage, 1936
Gelatin silver print
6 1/4 x 7 1/2 inches

Russell Lee  Untitled, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936 8 3/16 x 4 3/4 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Russell Lee

Untitled, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936
8 3/16 x 4 3/4 inches

Russell Lee  Untitled, 1936 Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936 7 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Russell Lee

Untitled, 1936
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1936
7 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches

Gordon Parks  American Gothic, Washington, D.C., 1942 Gelatin silver print; printed later 13 1/4 x 9 1/8 inches, howard greenberg gallery, 2020

Gordon Parks

American Gothic, Washington, D.C., 1942
Gelatin silver print; printed later
13 1/4 x 9 1/8 inches

Press Release

NEW YORK—A tale of America, told through iconic photographs from the 1930s, is the subject of One Third of a Nation: The Photographs of the Farm Security Administration, which depicts the challenges impoverished families were enduring with photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Gordon Parks, among others. Taken together, the exhibition demonstrate the extraordinary power of photography to define an era and inspire social change.

 

As the consequences of the Great Depression, unemployment, poverty and the effects of the Dust Bowl ravaged the country in the 1930s, government programs such as the Farm Security Administration (FSA) were established. American photographers were employed to document the dire conditions. The powerful work of these photographers under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs ushered in an unprecedented new era for the medium: across the entire nation photography was communicating what words could not.

 

Imbued in the nation’s social consciousness, the images that illustrate the history of the Great Depression originated in presidential action. In his second inaugural address, Roosevelt poignantly stated, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

 

In establishing the Resettlement Administration in 1935 – later renamed the Farm Security Administration in 1937 – Roosevelt created a robust response to help America’s poor farmers, sharecroppers, and migrant workers. Roy Stryker, an economist, was hired to document the situation and quickly developed an extraordinary roster of young photographers.

 

One Third of a Nation: The Photographs of the Farm Security Administration presents more than 50 photographs by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks, David Robbins, Arthur Rothstein, Peter Sekaer, Ben Shahn, and Marion Post Wolcott. From 1935 to 1943, the photographers of the FSA shot nearly 80,000 photographs traveling the country on assignments that could last for months at a time. Their touching portraits of children, concerned parents, struggling workers, and difficult living situations are regarded as some of the finest examples of modern documentary photography. The images proved in no uncertain terms that the nation needed to act.