“When they met in November 1934, photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) and economist Paul Taylor (1895-1984)
made a formidable team of advocates for improving living conditions of migrant laborers.
Their illustrated reports provided clear accounts of the systemic causes of the problems
and the need for governmental response.
Lange herself selected, cropped, printed, mounted,
and captioned the photographs in the reports.
Her captions incorporate the very words of the people pictured,
telling their own stories.
Armed with these forceful reports, H.E. Drobish,
director of California’s Rural Rehabilitation Office of the Emergency Relief Administration,
stated in his request for federal funding to build housing camps for workers:
“These laborers stand at the foot of the socioeconomic scale in our state….
These are the `forgotten men, women, and children’ of rural California
but on these people the crops of California depend.”
Between 1935 and 1943, Lange and other top-caliber photographers
hired by Roy Stryker of the Resettlement Administration produced
what was to become the world’s best-known photographic survey,
the Farm Security Administration (FSA) collection.
These report albums came to the Library of Congress
as part of that collection when it was transferred from the FSA in the 1940s. ”