Bell Ringers

Bell Ringer: The Great Depression Documented in Photographs

The Great Depression Documented in Photographs

The Great Depression Documented in Photographs


Library of Congress curator Beverly Brannan talked about the images taken by photographers working for the U.S. Government’s Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • How was the agriculture industry affected during the Great Depression?
  • Why did the government decide it was important to photograph the conditions under which people were living at this time? According to Ms. Brannan, what initial challenges did the FSA photographers face when seeking to have their photos published in print magazines and newspapers?
  • As outlined by Ms. Brannan, describe the government intervention programs involved in relocating citizens in the hardest hit areas of the United States. What purpose did the government photographers serve in documenting these transitions?
  • Ms. Brannan goes on to discuss one of most well known photos from the time of the Great Depression, “Migrant Mother,” by Dorothea Lang. Describe the circumstance behind the photograph of Florence Thompson, and her children. Why were migrant workers so unpopular with the citizens of California during this time?



    • Agriculture
    • Dire Straits
    • Drought
    • Dust Bowl
    • Economic Depression
    • Migrant Workers
    • Resettlement Administration


    Economics & Financial LiteracyMediaU.S. History


    Middle SchoolHigh School