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1930s & Earlier / Iconic Depression-Era Photo
Thirty-two-year-old Florence Owens Thomson became the face of the Great Depression after she was photographed by Dorothea Lange in 1936. Lange, a photographer of some repute, had been hired by the federal government to capture images of how the hard times of the 1930 were affecting Americans. The photo--which Lange titled "Migrant Mother"--did not identify Thompson by name, only that she was a 32-year-old widowed mother of seven children who was among at least 2,500 transient and destitute people seeking menial work as a pea picker in a California camp. The compelling photo was widely reproduced in newspapers across the continent and Thompson was subsequently identified. She died in 1983 at age 80.