19 November 2010

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Images of The Great Depression


In response to The House of Representatives voting down a measure that would have reauthorized extended unemployment insurance for another three months, Porcelains and Peacocks posts these timeless and timely images from the Great Depression. American photographer Walter Evans (1903-1975) came from an affluent family but was able to capture Alabama cotton sharecropper Floyd Burroughs’ quiet despair. The novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) profiles a poor family of sharecroppers who in desperation leave their Oklahoma home for California. Californian author John Steinbeck (1902-1968) wrote the book in response to the Great Depression and its effects "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this", he stated. Fellow Californian Elmer Hader (1889-1973) illustrated the first edition book cover. The painting Abandoned by Millard Sheets (1907-1989) shows a farm where the owners have been driven away from their land by economic collapse. The painting became emblematic of the Great Depression; what image will define our current times?

8 comments:

  1. I really love this Kendra, I'm engaged in a American History class, post Civil War. We were dealing with this period not to very long ago. The imagery you chose, just lovely, haunting and lovely. The image of Burroughs is touching, such a handsome man, if fate had placed him within a a different class... ifs...
    You were in my thoughts today, I am attending a two day lecture series on the Aesthetic Movement, wish you had been my lunch mate, so much to chatter about :)
    LG

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  2. Leonard~ These times are so difficult. I gather strength from the stories of my father's family during the Depression where only my grandfather had a job. He drove a truck in the oil fields of Bakersfield and an extended family lived in his Standard Oil company home. A great uncle stayed on the porch, my aunt slept in the bathtub, another aunt stayed with a family down the street and a whole family lived in the former playhouse. KB

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  3. I am with Steinbeck! Stunning photo by Walter Evans.

    I feel you Kendra, and I think of the stories my family told me growing up what it was like in Austria after the war when my mom got a slice of wetted rye bread sprinkled with a little sugar for lunch every day. Tough times now, yes, but they don't compare.

    Cheers,

    Claudia

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  4. Hi Claudia, my Father's family ate bread with tomatoes for lunch! Have a great weekend. Best, Kendra

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  5. such a beautiful look at those times, my parents were both born in 1930 & shared their stories of family. we just don't do that now.

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  6. Thanks PGT, Sadly I never knew my paternal grandfather who supported the family through the Depression but he lives on in the family's stories. Best, Kendra

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  7. Yes, a timely "tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this" !

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  8. Rose, Sad that they are so oblivious to so much pain. Best, Kendra

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