The US was in the grip of the Great Depression.

Forty-four years old, Dorothea Lange was at the top of her game, working for the Farm Security Administration to document rural conditions and the government programs aimed to improve them. In 1939, she drove thousands of miles through California, North Carolina, and the Pacific Northwest, made over 3,000 photographs, and wrote long captions describing what she saw and heard. During that year, Lange and her husband, Paul Taylor, wrote and published their classic book An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion. Despite this incredibly productive year, Lange was fired at the end of October.

For the story behind why Lange was fired, what she did next, and the importance of the work she accomplished in 1939, see the book DARING TO LOOK.

To accompany Lange in the field, day by day, to see what she saw, select view all. To the photographs in situ, choose a region. Although you will not find most of the book’s 163 photographs here, you will see many others that are not in the book itself.


For a timeline of national and world events in 1939, click here.