Destitute Pea Pickers in California: Mother of Seven Children, Age Thirty-two, Nipomo, California. Migrant Mother


This photograph is one of a series taken by Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) as part of her work in California during the Great Depression. At the time, many migrants were fleeing the Dust Bowl of the Great Plains in search of work and a better life. Lange’s photos document the difficult conditions these migrants found when they reached California. Lange’s work was conducted for the Resettlement Administration in Washington and built upon earlier investigations she had done among farm laborers in Nipomo and in California’s Imperial Valley. Her photographs helped raise public awareness of the conditions that migrants faced and built support for government relief programs. Lange published her iconic photograph under the title “Destitute Pea Pickers in California. Mother of Seven Children.” The woman pictured was Florence Owens Thompson, who revealed her identity to a local newspaper a few years before her death in 1983.

Last updated: May 24, 2017