• Weird History

The Most Disquieting Photos Of The Great Depression

List RulesVote up the most unnerving photographs.

“The family met at the most important place, near the truck. The house was dead, and the fields were dead... this was the new hearth, the living center of the family.” Those lines from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, set during the Great Depression, are a reminder of how the era turned the world upside down in unsettling ways. From living in cars to enduring aching hunger, people everywhere struggled to find food, shelter, and hope. 

Steinback captured the Great Depression, which lasted from 1920 to around 1939, in words. Photographers like Dorothea Lange, who worked for the Farm Security Administration, captured it in images. Black-and-white photos from the time (although some have been colorized to great effect) depict the strength and tenacity, but also the bleak existence, of those who lived during the Great Depression. Disquieting and haunting, they depict harsh landscapes, stark camps or shanytowns, and many men, women, and children on the road, unsure of where they were going or if they would survive.

Photo:
  • 1. Families Living In Their Cars In Sacramento, CA, 1940

    Photo: Dorothea Lange / WIkimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,436
    121
    Is this haunting?
  • 2. A Homeless Family Walks From Phoenix To San Diego, 1939

    Photo: Dorothea Lange / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,632
    144
    Is this haunting?
  • 3. A Bread Line Wraps Around The Block Outside The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1930s

    Photo: Office of War Information / Library of Congress / Public Domain
    1,558
    136
    Is this haunting?
  • 4. A Family Of Five, Car Broken Down On The Side Of The Road In California, 1937

    Photo: Dorothea Lange / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,338
    121
    Is this haunting?