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Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture
Unformatted Document Text:  7 because there was little public awareness of the problems faced by farmers. To achieve his goal, Tugwell created the Historical Section and appointed Roy E. Stryker as Chief of the Historical Section within an Information Division. Stryker hired several photographers including Dorothea Lange, and assigned them to photographically record the activities of the RA/FSA as well as the long-standing rural distress (McCamy, 1939; O’Neal, 1976; Ganzel, 1984; Stange, 1987). Stryker, aware of the importance of the media in eliciting support from the public, provided materials which play up the work of the RA-FSA to the media (Preston, 1995). He established a file of useful and authoritative photographs and provided them for free to writers, newspapers, magazines and syndicates. As a result, the FSA photographs were widely reproduced in various media (McCamy, 1939; Edon, 1947). Among them, the Migrant Mother picture was one of the most reproduced documentary photographs. 3. Research Methods 1) Data Selecting I selected materials carrying the ‘Migrant Mother’ photograph in the 1930s in each of the four genres -- photojournalism, documentary photography, government public relations, and art photography. These materials are mostly from the FSA-OWI Collection 2 preserved in the Library of Congress, as well as individual books and pamphlets. For the photojournalism genre, I chose six articles of newspapers/magazines carrying the ‘Migrant Mother’, including, the San Francisco News, March 11, 1936, Oct. 5, 1936; the Sunday Pantagraph, June 9, 1940; United States News, July 1936; Survey Graphic, September 1936; Midweek Pictorial, October 17, 1936; the Pilgrim Highroad, July, 1940. These materials were obtained from scrapbooks of the FSA-OWI Written Records. These scrapbooks consist of newspaper and magazine clippings that reported on FSA-OWI activities or used FSA-OWI photographs. These clippings originally came from the news sections and rotogravures or feature sections of newspapers and magazines across the 2 The FSA collection contains approximately 170,000 negatives and is the largest and most geographically comprehensive photographic documentary project ever undertaken in the U. S. by the government or the private sector. It does not include all of the original negatives. In assembling that file, Stryker and the photographers selected the best images and ’killed’ others. The FSA photography file includes some 270,000 prints and negatives (of which 170,000 are now stored at the Library of Congress). The collection was organized by the archivist Paul Vanderbilt beginning in 1942. It is public property, open to all in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

Authors: Choi, Hyunju.
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7
because there was little public awareness of the problems faced by farmers. To achieve his
goal, Tugwell created the Historical Section and appointed Roy E. Stryker as Chief of the
Historical Section within an Information Division. Stryker hired several photographers
including Dorothea Lange, and assigned them to photographically record the activities of
the RA/FSA as well as the long-standing rural distress (McCamy, 1939; O’Neal, 1976;
Ganzel, 1984; Stange, 1987).
Stryker, aware of the importance of the media in eliciting support from the public,
provided materials which play up the work of the RA-FSA to the media (Preston, 1995).
He established a file of useful and authoritative photographs and provided them for free to
writers, newspapers, magazines and syndicates. As a result, the FSA photographs were
widely reproduced in various media (McCamy, 1939; Edon, 1947).
Among them, the
Migrant Mother picture was one of the most reproduced documentary photographs.
3. Research Methods
1) Data Selecting
I selected materials carrying the ‘Migrant Mother’ photograph in the 1930s in each
of the four genres -- photojournalism, documentary photography, government public
relations, and art photography. These materials are mostly from the FSA-OWI Collection
2
preserved in the Library of Congress, as well as individual books and pamphlets.
For the photojournalism genre, I chose six articles of newspapers/magazines
carrying the ‘Migrant Mother’, including, the San Francisco News, March 11, 1936, Oct. 5,
1936; the Sunday Pantagraph, June 9, 1940; United States News, July 1936; Survey
Graphic, September 1936; Midweek Pictorial, October 17, 1936; the Pilgrim Highroad,
July, 1940.
These materials were obtained from scrapbooks of the FSA-OWI Written Records.
These scrapbooks consist of newspaper and magazine clippings that reported on FSA-OWI
activities or used FSA-OWI photographs. These clippings originally came from the news
sections and rotogravures or feature sections of newspapers and magazines across the
2
The FSA collection contains approximately 170,000 negatives and is the largest and most geographically
comprehensive photographic documentary project ever undertaken in the U. S. by the government or the
private sector. It does not include all of the original negatives. In assembling that file, Stryker and the
photographers selected the best images and ’killed’ others. The FSA photography file includes some 270,000
prints and negatives (of which 170,000 are now stored at the Library of Congress). The collection was
organized by the archivist Paul Vanderbilt beginning in 1942. It is public property, open to all in the Prints
and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.


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