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Rural Poverty

Miner at Dougherty’s Mine, Near Falls Creek, Pennsylvania

by Jack Delano

The Agricultural Department hired Jack Delano as a photographer for the Farm Securities Administration (FSA) and this photograph focuses on the working conditions of the coal miner. 

Between 1880 and 1930 the coal industry expanded as the production of steel required coal to fuel the furnaces.  In the 1930s mining sites could be found throughout the eastern United States and mechanization began to be implemented within coal mines but the conditions were still dirty and the risk of injury or death due to explosions or a shaft collapsing was still high. 

Workers were typically immigrants and were required to live in company-built, efficiency towns called “patches.”  What does this photograph tell you about the quality of life of a coal miner in the 1930s in the USA?

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Miner at Dougherty's min, Near Falls Creek, Pennsylvania - Jack Delano
Miner at Dougherty's Mine, Near Falls Creek, Pennsylvania - Jack Delano. 1940. (Farm Security Administration) Gelatin silver print.  9 3/8 x 6 7/8 in.

Photo League Collection, Museum Purchase with funds provided by Elizabeth M. Ross, the Derby Fund, John S. and Catherine Chapin Kobacker, and the Friends of the Photo League.

Other Artwork Dealing With Rural Poverty...
Lucienne Bloch Harry Brodsky Jack Delano Merritt Mauzey

Rural Poverty Urban Poverty Anti-Poverty Efforts Fall Short Labor Disputes

Ida Abelman
Thomas Hart Benton
Lucienne Bloch
Harry Brodsky
Paul Cadmus
Francis Chapin
Jack Delano
Phillip Evergood
George Gilbert
Hugo Gellert
Joseph Hirsch
Irwin Hoffman
Morris Huberland
Merritt Mauzey
Elizabeth Olds
Walter Quirt
Moses Soyer
Raphael Soyer
Lynd Ward

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