Child of "Migrant Mother" speaks

Girl from iconic Great Depression photo: 'We were ashamed'


The photograph became an icon of the Great Depression: a migrant mother with her children burying their faces in her shoulder. Katherine McIntosh was 4 years old when the photo was snapped. She said it brought shame -- and determination -- to her family.

"I wanted to make sure I never lived like that again," says McIntosh, who turns 77 on Saturday. "We all worked hard and we all had good jobs and we all stayed with it. When we got a home, we stayed with it."

McIntosh is the girl to the left of her mother when you look at the photograph. The picture is best known as "Migrant Mother," a black-and-white photo taken in February or March 1936 by Dorothea Lange of Florence Owens Thompson, then 32, and her children.

Lange was traveling through Nipomo, California, taking photographs of migrant farm workers for the Resettlement Administration. At the time, Thompson had seven children who worked with her in the fields.

Comment: View CNN article (Link) for picture of Katherine McIntosh, now 77 - then 4, holding famous photo. Wiki article on Florence Owens Thompson. The Library of Congress entitles the Migrant Mother image, Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California. Six other fascinating Dorthy Lange photos of the "Migrant Mother" are available here


  1. I can't help but notice that even in fairly extreme poverty, this family achieves something that most middle class families today do not.

    Although the clothes are well worn, they fit, are put together properly, and are made of good fabric.

    One of the chief joys I have in seeing the places where my ancestors lived, and in seeing the things that they owned, is to realize that despite far less means than most people have today, they still managed to do many things beautifully.

  2. I was surprised by the relative youth of "Migrant Mother". I actually thought she was 10 - 15 years older.


Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic