Dorothea Lange Yakima Valley Collection

The Farm Security Administration commissioned Dorothea Lange to document the conditions of migrant farm workers and FSA programs and clients in Washington's Yakima Valley in 1939. Lange had previously photographed migrant workers in California and rural poverty in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Here are some of Lange's Yakima photographs, culled from the Library of Congress American Memory photograph archives. Click the image to enlarge and read her full captions. Click here to see the full gallery of her Yakima pictures.

Read our Dorothea Lange Essay Series

Social Documentary photography Dorothea Lange visited Washington's Yakima Valley in 1939 to chronicle rural farm life and migrant families during the Depression.

• Part 1: Dorothea Lange's Social Vision: Photography and the Great Depression, by Emily Yoshiwara
• Part 2: Dorothea Lange in the Yakima Valley: Rural Poverty and Photography, by Stephanie Whitney

 

Visit our special section chronicling Arts & Culture during the Depression.

 


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All Chris Adolf's children are hard workers on the new place.
 
 

All Chris Adolf's children are hard workers on the new place.

Chris Adolf, his teams and six of his children, on their new FSA farm near Wapato.
 
 

Chris Adolf, his teams and six of his children, on their new FSA farm near Wapato.

One of Chris Adolph's younger children.
 
 

One of Chris Adolph's younger children.

One of Chris Adolph's daughters.
 
 

One of Chris Adolph's daughters.

All Chris Adolf's children are hard workers on the new place.
 
 

All Chris Adolf's children are hard workers on the new place.

Chris Adolf, his team, and six of his children on their new FSA supported farm.
 
 

Chris Adolf, his team, and six of his children on their new FSA supported farm.

Fatherless migratory family camped behind gas station. The mother is trying to support three boys by picking pears.
 
 

Fatherless migratory family camped behind gas station. The mother is trying to support three boys by picking pears.

Champion hop picker in squatter camp before the season opens. Earned five dollars a day in the 1938 season.
 
 

Champion hop picker in squatter camp before the season opens. Earned five dollars a day in the 1938 season.

Migratory woman, originally from Texas. Yakima Valley, Washington.
 
 

Migratory woman, originally from Texas. Yakima Valley, Washington.

Motherless migrant child. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.
 
 

Motherless migrant child. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.

Migratory boy in squatter camp. Has come to Yakima Valley for the third year to pick hops.
 
 

Migratory boy in squatter camp. Has come to Yakima Valley for the third year to pick hops.

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.
 
 

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.
 
 

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.
 
 

Family who traveled by freight train. Washington, Toppenish, Yakima Valley.

Yakima shacktown, (Sumac Park) is one of several large shacktown communities around Yakima.
 
 

Yakima shacktown, (Sumac Park) is one of several large shacktown communities around Yakima.

Hop yard on ranch of M. Rivard in French-Canadian colony, three weeks before picking.
 
 

Hop yard on ranch of M. Rivard in French-Canadian colony, three weeks before picking.

Monument to Depression. Unfinished hotel standing in center of town. Construction abandoned after collapse of 1929.
 
 

Monument to Depression. Unfinished hotel standing in center of town. Construction abandoned after collapse of 1929.

The famed stockade. Used as jail for striking farm workers in 1933. Building behind stockade is the courthouse.
 
 

The famed stockade. Used as jail for striking farm workers in 1933. Building behind stockade is the courthouse.

Yakima shacktown, (Sumac Park) is one of several large shacktown communities around Yakima.
 
 

Yakima shacktown, (Sumac Park) is one of several large shacktown communities around Yakima.

Washington, Yakima. Sumac Park. Revival meetings are held in Yakima shacktown.
 
 

Washington, Yakima. Sumac Park. Revival meetings are held in Yakima shacktown.

Shacktown grocery store and filling station, typical of many such small enterprises in new community (Sumac Park).
 
 

Shacktown grocery store and filling station, typical of many such small enterprises in new community (Sumac Park).

Migratory children living in
 
 

Migratory children living in "Rambler's Park." They have lived on the road for three years.

Family living in shacktown community, mostly from Kansas and Missouri. Rent seven dollars a month.
 
 

Family living in shacktown community, mostly from Kansas and Missouri. Rent seven dollars a month.

Three migratory families in
 
 

Three migratory families in "Ramblers Park." Washington, Yakima Valley.

Packing fresh prunes at night on Produce Row during busy season, wages two cents per box. Washington, Yakima.
 
 

Packing fresh prunes at night on Produce Row during busy season, wages two cents per box. Washington, Yakima.

Packing fresh prunes at night in packinghouse during busy season. Wages, two cents per box.
 
 

Packing fresh prunes at night in packinghouse during busy season. Wages, two cents per box.

Migrant fruit picker (single) takes rest in the mid-morning.
 
 

Migrant fruit picker (single) takes rest in the mid-morning.

 
 

"Fruit tramp." Note design of pear strap, to balance weight of the pears.

Camp of family with nine children who have been on the road for three years.
 
 

Camp of family with nine children who have been on the road for three years.

Drought refugee, aged sixty three, from Bismark, North Dakota.
 
 

Drought refugee, aged sixty three, from Bismark, North Dakota. "Came to Washington three years ago in that Chevy coupe ...

Looking down on part of the Valley, approximately six miles from Yakima.
 
 

Looking down on part of the Valley, approximately six miles from Yakima.