Just 8 more days until the 1940 Census will be released online!
Dorothea Lange took this photograph just days after the 1940 Census. This woman’s story reflects the experience of many Americans who lived through the 1930s.
The original caption reads:
Edison Kern County, California. Age 70, she came from near Greely, Nebraska, with sister age 65 nephew age 30, and brother age 68. She says, “My father was a pioneer in Nebraska. He went there in ‘79. He was born in Ireland. I remember when we lived in a dugout in Nebraska, but he left us three good farms. He had a timber claim, a homestead, and he bought one farm. My father’s been dead for 20 years and we lost everything including our minds, nearly, trying to keep what he left us. We paid taxes for nearly 50 years there, but we only saved out enough to build us this trailer home. We came to California in June 1938. We just started out. We had good land back there - wheat, corn, orchard, chickens, cows, cream, eggs. Independent, we had everything ‘til the drought came. There’s not many of the old settlers left. It’s discouraging I tell you to go out once or twice a week and come home with a dollar. Yesterday we went 37 miles to pick peas and worked 5 hours. We’ve got relatives back East and they just can’t understand how these things are.”